By now, pretty much all of Western culture probably knows that actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead yesterday of an apparent suicide.
We can talk about drugs and alcohol dependency all we want, both of which apparently factored into his death. Struggling with any kind of addiction can lead to severe depression and suicidal tendencies, and hopefully Williams’ death will wake some people up to this fact.
But there’s a much bigger topic that we need to talk about, and it’s this: Robin Williams had everything, according to societal standards. He was Hollywood. He was bigtime Hollywood, meaning that he had success, fame and fortune. He also had family.
And yet he still killed himself. None of those categories – categories we all strive so exceptionally hard to obtain and maintain – fulfilled him enough to ultimately think life was worth living.
In recognizing this, there are only a few logical conclusions we can reach:
· Life really isn’t worth living.
· Robin Williams was unique, or at least not the norm, in coming to this conclusion.
· Life is worth living for, but not based on the above-mentioned categories.
So let’s see…
Is life worthless? To answer that question, I’d recommend asking those of us who have to say goodbye to loved ones. We mourn for months and years when a life is lost. We remember their birthdays and anniversaries and holidays. And we do all of this because they meant something to us. They had value.
As for Robin Williams being all that unique in deciding that life is worthless, I’m sad to say that’s simply not true. Most of us don’t go around committing suicide, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ruin our lives all the same, bouncing from one high to the next, whether that high is found in jobs, relationships, money, sex, travel, drugs, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. The vast majority of us find out that it’s all temporary and therefore meaningless.
Yet that doesn’t mean life itself is meaningless. As a born-again Christian, I am very confident in my Creator’s perfect love and sovereignty. In my worldview, life has meaning from the bigger picture right down to every beautiful and tragic detail, even when I can’t see how that’s true.
This worldview doesn’t always guarantee ecstasy or even physical comfort at all, but it does foster a sense of purpose that I can’t imagine going without.
I only wish that Robin Williams had tried this amazingly unique, versatile and long-lasting (as in eternal) resource instead of falling back on what he did.