Eugene Cho

Remember that our lives matter. Remember to be more human – to loved ones, neighbors, and strangers alike.

robin-williams-cover-ftr

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.

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

By now, most of you know that Robin Williams past away today (August 11). 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.

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.

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* 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

photo credit: Conde Nast magazine // LA Times

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7 Responses

  1. I’ve read today (and it makes the whole sense) that the probably real cause of the death of R. Williams is not a simple depression, but a depression associated to a bipolar disorder, something (experts say) known by his people around. I repeat it, it makes the whole sense, because some of the things that they are saying today about Williams (drug addiction, e.g.) fits with the BP. Recently in my family we are having to know profoundly this disorder, and we’re learning to fit it in the christian faith. Thank you for your words, Eugene, because we are learning by our own that ONLY LOVE, and foremost the PERFECT LOVE OF GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST can overcome this kind of illness.

  2. Beth says:

    I was feeling the same with all the other issues going on I did not want to say much. But. I am truly saddened by his passing. His comic genius and the pathos. ..he will be missed.

  3. Cathy says:

    I used to be one of those people that would say how could someone’s life be so bad that they would take their own life. We’ll I know because I have depression and anxiety. I was afraid to post this because I feel people look at you different. I have a wonderful family support. I pray for his family and everyone and others that maybe going thru the same. Trust in God and let your family help you. Their is plenty of help out there,

  4. Ty says:

    Just receive it right now in this moment in time. Gently embrace the truth – feel the truth – that your life matters, that you matter, that God loves you and that you are loved – fill your heart and pour it out…..I just did.
    With gratitude, Ty

  5. Naomi says:

    When a person is depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts, they do not see the future as getting any better. They do not feel like their problems are temporary. They see no way out of their problems or situation. They can not think about the fact that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. They just want relief from the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. Painful thoughts. Painful feelings. They don’t care that others care. That does not take away the problem(s). They don’t care that God cares. That does not take away the problem(s). They just want relief!! And the thought of death feels like it will stop the pain. Been there. (But I am ok now. Have medicine and most of my problems are no longer there.)

  6. “Even broken tree bear good fruits in heaven”.
    Dear Robin Williams, RIP, you’ll be dearly missed, we love you!! ❤

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One Day’s Wages

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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