Last week while working at the church, I received a call from a long-time member, a family very involved in our church and one that I see every week, inwardly thinking how they must lead such a wonderful life. “Danielle? I need a pastor” came her voice on the other end. “My husband tried to commit suicide, but checked himself in to a hospital. Can someone meet me?” Momentarily speechless, I mustered up, “absolutely, I’m going to get someone now and will give you an update on arrival time in a few minutes.” After the three pastors left, I walked around in a daze, processing, how can this be? I would have thought he had the perfect job, she had the perfect children, they had a great marriage. They serve in our church, how did we miss this? How did us as a staff, her friends or anyone miss the signs that there was pain and trouble?
Robin Williams- 63. Successful comedian, beloved father and husband- dead. What? While the verdict is still out on cause of death, suicide is a likely potential and while I would like to say I am shocked, I won’t be. These last few pictures circulating the media with his glassy blue eyes, staring dead on, tell a story. There is something inside of him that just begs to be “seen.” How did his wife, his daughter, his closest friends, miss all the signs? It’s shocking how someone with so much talent that has brought so many joy and laughter through the years dies, alone.
I am busy. We are so busy with our schedules, with our own details, with our own ambitions and with our own needs that we 100% miss what someone may be trying to express to us. Asking for help is a brave step that many take, telling a family member a friend or a professional counselor, but I wonder how many are drowning that don’t? Why don’t’ they? Oh yes- we live in a world where perfection is admired, spotlight is envied, struggles are a weakness and where the highlight reel of Facebook is everyone’s perceived reality. The hard, yet real truth is that every single person is fighting a battle.
On some level, aren’t we all wanting to know:
Do you see me?
Will you accept me if I’m broken?
Am I good enough?
If you knew the truth, what would you think?
How do I ask for help?
Depression is a real thing and unfortunately I think it is something that is not addressed enough and something that most people will face at one time or another. I have struggled with depression in waives- a month, a day, a week. There is an incredible weight placed on each person- from themselves, maybe from family, maybe their job, maybe a status they are trying to live through, financially alone it’s massive, but everyone is walking through something. It looks different as we have different limits that push us, drown us and charge us, but they exist. As I laid in bed this morning, rehearsing my own battles in my head, I began to wonder about those closest to me- How much do I really know about what they are walking? How am I going to make time to find out? I don’t want to miss the signs.