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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 20 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 21 hours ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 3 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 3 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 3 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago