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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First day of our daughter's college years at this great school. We love you. We're so proud of you.We believe in you. Go Huskies. Go Dawgs. And also, beat Stanford this Friday. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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