Category Archives: current events

Robin Williams: The Legacy Will Never Die

552957-robin_williams_1_license_to_wedWe can sometimes measure how much someone is loved by how much laughter they bring to our lives. We can also measure it by how many tears are shed when they depart. Robin Williams was one such man where both of these are immeasurable, and it is genuine sorrow and despair that has gripped millions around the world upon hearing of his death early this week.

Growing up, Robin Williams was one of the most popular icons of my childhood. His exuberant talents as the Genie in Aladdin to his hilarious performance in Mrs. Doubtfire were just a few roles he fulfilled that brought laughter to the lives of many. Robin Williams is associated with smiles; he is associated with cosy family nights in, feeling the warmth and energy surround you and your loved ones as you watch one of his films; he is associated with laughter in the school playground, trying to mimic the many voices he used to do. And now, he is also associated with the other end of the spectrum: sadness, despair, shock and grief.

Depression can grip some of the best people, this is true. How could a man like Robin Williams not suffer from depression? This was a man who loved to make people laugh. He was someone whose warmth and compassionate nature was so powerful that it shone through his performances, right through our television screens. For someone who loved so deeply, strongly and whose ambition was to make others smile, how could melancholy and sadness not be a part of his life, when life itself is often swathed in misery, suffering and heartache? When events unfold that cause tears, not laughter, to flow from you, how can anyone not feel overwhelming sadness at this? I am of the belief that it was this constant battle with a world that was out of sync with what Robin Williams wanted, what so many of us want, that contributed towards his untimely passing. I don’t believe anyone will ever know what was going through his mind when he took his own life, nor the exact reasons behind it. Maybe things got too much; maybe he wanted to leave on his own terms; maybe we shan’t ever know. But for a person to take this route, we can only suspect one infallible thing: this is a sign of someone who has been too strong for too long and it is for this reason that we must acknowledge the strength and courage it took for him to keep going for as long as he did, not just despair at the ending itself.

His death, like his films, has taught us many things. It has taught us that money, fame and status are not the elixir of life, as so many are fooled into thinking. Material abundance is no guarantee of happiness. It is no assurance that those who have these things cannot fall victim to depression. As humans beings, no matter our backgrounds or status, we can all be susceptible to it. It can even be said that his death has brought the wide divide between the ‘ordinary’ and the ‘extraordinary’ closer together; Robin Williams has shown us that Hollywood is not a land of untouchable, immortal gods, but instead a place of human beings who can suffer just as we suffer, feel just as we feel. 

So we will grieve, all of us who have been affected by him in some way, large or small. Much bewilderment will continue, much sadness and many, many tears. But as time passes, the legacy he left will continue to grow stronger. Though he has gone, his ability to make people smile lives on. Whenever we flick on our TV screens and see one of his films, whenever we scroll through Youtube and hear ‘You ain’t never had a friend like me!” whenever we just think of an actor who made us crack a grin – that is the legacy he left. It is timeless, priceless and, above all, it continues to serve as a beacon for others who know what darkness is, but through Williams’ example, can retain hope that spreading light into the lives of others is a very real possibility and attainable goal. Robin Williams may have extinguished the light inside himself, but he has lit flames in thousands upon thousands and there really can be no greater achievement than that. I firmly believe life does not end when we die and that there is a place we go to where darkness, sorrow, illness and depression does not exist. It is a comfort, perhaps, to the many of us left behind that someone who gave so much to this world is now free from the very miseries that made him want to leave it in the first place. RIP Robin Williams.  

The Original Hero: Why We Have Got It So Wrong

heromanWe all admire heroes, yet so many of us – for whatever reason – mock the one hero whose incredible qualities inspired all the rest.

There are a lot of people who seem to be utterly confused about this phrase:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

For some bizarre reason, people seem to think that this means you MUST believe in organized religion, that you MUST worship God accordingly, that you MUST religiously follow the Christian faith and that if you don’t, you’ll be condemned to the fires of hell …

Nope … It just means that you believe in being what Jesus was: loving, compassionate, forgiving, strong and not acting on evil thoughts that may be forced into your head. It really doesn’t matter what device you follow as long as you live with these things in your heart and do your best to do right by others and yourself. And, personally, I feel that those who choose to be evil, who live just to hurt others, who do sick twisted things like kill innocent people or rape little babies, they deserve to be thrown into the fires of hell (wherever that may be; I’m not necessarily talking about a pit of lava). I can’t think of any decent person who wouldn’t agree with me. How then can people get angry when we’re told that those who don’t believe in Jesus will be condemned to hell? The only ones facing this are the ones who do things such as those mentioned above because they are doing the opposite of the representation of Jesus, not of the Christian religion itself. That’s my theory anyway.

“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.” – Einstein. 

Well, that’s exactly what Jesus was all about; self-sacrifice, goodness and righteousness. He wanted to set an example to others; nurturing our good side and fighting our bad side. And every great story in history has been about good vs evil because it doesn’t get much greater than that, sacrificing oneself and protecting the underdog. Are you a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games and the majority of books out there which have a heroic protagonist? All of them are brave, noble, honourable and think of others before themselves. Every great hero in history, however everyone may view them, (Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Jose Rizal and so many more) also had these qualities. The parents who sacrifice themselves for their child have these qualities, the friend who drops everything to help his companion has these qualities, the soldier who willingly gives his life for his captain has these qualities. By the logic of these jeerers who scorn at Jesus, they surely also sneer at these ordinary individuals who become extraordinary heroes because of their remarkable deeds. Jesus Christ was the first of these great heroes – and he is still being mocked today, just as he was when they crucified him. Imagine the pain and suffering of being tortured, laughed at, whipped, beaten and ultimately murdered simply because you want to share the love in your heart or fight for a cause you believe in! It personally angers me that anyone could scorn or laugh at someone who had such courage, compassion and resilience.

aaaIt’s a shame the name of Jesus itself has been twisted and tainted by religious zealots who use it for their own selfish means or pompous ‘educated’ individuals who view him as old-fashioned, outdated and even laughable – how many times do these people express contempt for someone who claims to love Jesus, even though they don’t understand what the name of ‘Jesus’ actually means? For the meaning stays the same and it’s not one I’d take lightly.

Jesus does not mean being forced into a religion; it doesn’t mean going to church every week; it doesn’t mean following the scriptures; it doesn’t mean condemning homosexuals into the fiery pits of hell; it doesn’t mean following the rules of a priest or a bible. It means love, compassion, understanding, sacrifice, doing what’s right when it would be so easy to do what’s wrong and courage in the face of adversity. Jesus means putting others before yourself, being selfless as possible and doing your best to live with these qualities in your daily life, even though the evil inside you is always fighting to get out; it’s a never-ending war with evil in yourself and evil in others.

So it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself religious or not – if you believe in all these things, then you believe in Jesus.

I personally believe in a whole host of things: God, reincarnation, negative entities, positive entities, good people, bad people, angels, demons … the list goes on. And I believe in Jesus because his heroic qualities and deeds are worthy of admiration and respect. This belief is the foundation for all sorts of faith and faith is the foundation for strength. And when you work with compassion and love, not selfishness and evil, it’s imperative to be strong in this world for yourself and others because this world is forever doing its best to bring you down.   As a person who’s looked right into the face of demons, both in human form and spiritual form, I can’t ignore what’s being placed so blatantly in front of me. That there is good out there, there is evil out there and there are warriors fighting on each side, always fighting for us to join them, swarming around us all the time, even if we can’t see or hear them. Jesus was a warrior and he exemplified everything great and good about this world and showed us what we ourselves are capable of: strength, determination, compassion and forgiveness. Why hate or mock someone like that, simply because a few bad eggs have managed to taint his image? Maybe people shouldn’t allow themselves to be influenced so easily and instead make their own minds up, perhaps realizing there is nothing about Jesus that is worthy of resentment or hatred, other than that there are those certain people who came after him that do their best to crush the very reason he died for us in the first place.

Stairway to Heaven (Excerpt)

Sometimes, I love to look at a picture and imagine the story behind it. Here is one based on the ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ 

 

StairwayToHeaven-D-4d“Where are you going?”

“I’m leaving now – there’s a stairway that I must walk, one that will show me the place I’ve dreamed of since I was born. In this place, there’s no such thing as pain, suffering or sadness. No one can hurt the other because there is no need for the balance; there is only love.”

“Can I come with you?”

“No, dear one. You cannot climb these stairs. You must stay here a bit longer. Your journey isn’t over yet. But when it is, I will be waiting for you. For all stairs are different, but the place is the same. And when you see the beauty of this world, you will understand why there is so much darkness on earth. You cannot appreciate beauty until you have known the ugliness of despair. I must go now … goodbye.”

And she wept as he walked up the stairs; but amidst her sorrow were tears of joy also, for she knew he had finally found the peace that had eluded him in life. And all that was dark became light, all that had faded turned to brightness; and the shadows were no more.