We are all shaped by our childhoods. You said yours left you with a “Love Me Syndrome”. Maybe the toxicity level was finally high enough to kill. You said you found your wealthy father frightening when he was home. He and your mother worked so much that the maids reared you. Bullied by schoolmates and with no friends except the ones in your mind and your 2000 toy soldiers, you say you grew up with an acute fear of abandonment.
After googling your name for images I was startled by the similarity of most: sleepy eyes, a thin smile for the public, but a countenance suggesting you hid things that deeply absorbed you. Sad things. Or evil things. Or good things you didn’t know what to do with. I’ve always wondered if Patch Adams was your own metaphor for “laugh your way to happiness”.
Recent rehab. Again. A history of addictions and depression. Admirers wonder how you could have so much yet be so distraught. The Oscar. A cover on TIME. Worth $130 million as recently as 2012, the $30 million you lost to two wives sent you back to TV work to pay the bills. Even put your 600+ acre estate on the market recently.
We loved you with or without all that. How you made us laugh. From Mork and Mindy to Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, to my personal favorite, Mrs. Doubtfire.
Fox News’ Shepherd Smith gracelessly labeled you a “coward”. Only those who’ve seriously flirted with suicide can appreciate its lure. To the rest, it’s lunacy. Why would a man choose oblivion or worse to life, love, fame, and fortune? Prefer death to a future? Because as Blaise Pascal put it rather indelicately, “All men seek happiness. …This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” For some, inner sorrows which cannot be explained adequately to others–or understood by others, pommel and drain a person to such an extent that nonexistence seems like happiness compared to existence.
They say you were bipolar. I hope professionals had you on the proper medicine. But some meds are now part of the problem. Studies show some antidepressants actually increase the allure of suicide.
Did anyone ever whisper “Jesus” to you? He came to seek and to save lost people like me and you. Came to heal brokenhearted folks. Came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. Came to bear our judgment and bear our sins. Came to release us from idols like wealth, other people’s approval, and substances that make promises they can’t deliver on. Came to bring us…, hope.
Remember what Arthur Mendelson said to Patch Adams? “No, no, look at me. You’re focusing on the problem. You focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem. Look at me.”
Look at ME.
We are awash in a sea of problem, of disasters, of misfortunes, of sorrows, of despair, of fears, of broken lives. Of sin. Jesus gets in front of us and says, “You’re focusing on the problem; look at me.”