The Common Good

Remember That Our Lives Matter

It feels awkward and even a bit inappropriate to be talking about ‘celebrity news’ when so much is going on around the world: Iraq, refugees in Syria, children stranded at borders, Michael Brown’s death and Ferguson, Ebola, Ukraine, and the list tragically goes on.

Pedro II / Shutterstock.com
Pedro II / Shutterstock.com

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But then again, it feels appropriate because it’s another reminder of the fragility of our humanity.

As has saturated the news, Robin Williams passed away this week. His life ended way too short at the young age of 63 – apparently because of suicide. While this was news to me, Robin had been struggling with intense depression – especially as of late — and was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

To be honest, I don’t get caught up too much on celebrity happenings mainly because there’s not much genuine connection. I don’t really know them personally. Make sense? Robin Williams’ death – on the other hand – just felt like a painful punch in the gut. Perhaps, it’s because Mork and Mindy (Nano Nano) was the first TV show I watched (along with Buck Rodgers) after immigrating to the United States. I deeply resonated with Mork – this ‘alien’ or ‘foreigner’ from another land trying to fit in. Perhaps, it’s because so many of the characters he played in countless movies influenced me on some level as it did so many others.

Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why his apparent suicide is so shocking and sobering. If anyone should have been laughing through life … surely, it must have been Robin. He was a genius. He was genuinely funny. A comedic genius. He was a brilliant actor. He was respected by his peers.

But…
We don’t really know.
We all carry hurts, pains, burdens, and fears.
We’re all facing hurdles, struggles, and obstacles.
And some – if not many – struggle through the anguish of depression.

Perhaps, this is another wake up call for all of us.

If I may, I’d like to humbly and gently encourage you:

Please … go … and call or hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Don’t just think it in your mind but actually do it. Tell them you love them. Remind them how you much appreciate them. Share with them how much they have impacted, encouraged, and blessed you. Tell them that they matter. Tell them that they matter to God.

In many ways, many of us need to (re)learn how to be more human. Does this make sense?

Don’t avoid eye contact.
Don’t hide behind our gadgets.
Let’s smile often – both to neighbors and strangers alike.
Let’s ask about peoples’ stories.
And listen. Genuinely listen.
Let’s be generous with our stories.
Live with vulnerability rather than suspicion and cynicism.
Share more meals. Laugh more.

Yes. We need to (re)learn to be more human.

And most importantly, remind yourself that YOU are loved. Not just merely by your loved ones but also by the ONE who created all that is good and beautiful.

Take a moment. Breathe in and out this truth:
Our lives matter.
Our lives matter to God.
God loves you.

We need reminders.
We need self-reminders.
We need others to regularly remind us.
And when we need help, we need others to remind us – again.
And there’s no shame in asking for help.
No shame in asking for reminders.

Our lives matter.
Our lives matter to God.
God loves you.

This is another wake up call but we don’t have to wait for the next wake up call.
Remember that we matter.
Remember that we matter to God.
Remember that God loves us.
Remember to be more human – to loved ones, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers alike.

Eugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative nonprofit neighborhood café and music venue. You can stalk him at his blogTwitter or his Facebook Page. Eugene and his wife are also the founders of a movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. His new book, Overrated, is available now. This post originally appeared on Eugene Cho's blog.

* The Suicide Prevention Center: (877) 727-4747

* The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

* Crisis Text Line: For those who prefer not to call, text LISTEN to 741741

Image: Pedro II / Shutterstock.com

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