Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite films of all time. I was first introduced to it as a Senior at Howe High School in Texas in the year 2002 and not only did we watch the movie, but we also conducted our own Dead Poets Society meeting on the stage in our theatre/cafeteria – complete with a fake fire.
We all were inspired by John Keating’s “CARPE DIEM – Seize the Day” speech. That reminded us to live in the moment – to live with no regrets – to be true to who we are.
That same speech inspired Neil, one of the students in Keating’s classroom, to go against what his father had panned out for his life. Neil decided that he was going to be true to himself and become an ACTOR! Even emphatically stating – I AM AN ACTOR!
Tragically, however, under the pressures from his father… Neil… Commits Suicide.
Neil made a decision to end his life. Heavy. Sad. True.
Now almost 25 years after the debut of this film – we mourn as Robin Williams, Mr. Keating, ends his life in the same manner – suicide.
We have to get a grip on this epidemic. This loneliness, depression, purposelessness, hopelessness that drives people to only see one option. Depression is real. Loneliness is real. Being without Purpose and Hope are some of the worst things we can experience in this broken world.
I don’t know what Robin Williams last thoughts were. I don’t know where he was in the days leading up to taking his own life. But, I do know that he needed hope. He needed love. He needed a way out. He needed someone to stand in the gap for him and to be there for him.
OUR RESPONSE (as Christians & People):
I believe that we need three things when it comes to Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide.
1) ACCEPTANCE –
First and foremost – we need to accept that these are real things, real struggles, and a real problem in our culture. We can not continue to live in this LaLa land that things everyone is ok. There is this battle for our heart, soul, and mind. The enemy wants everyone to feel like there is no hope – that people amount to nothing – to remind you that you are one of billions of people on earth, so what do you matter?. But these are lies! You were made by a caring and loving Creator. You are chosen. You are beautiful. You are strong. You have purpose and connection far beyond anything you can imagine.
Psalm 139 says,
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
Also, if you are someone who struggles with depression and have had suicidal thoughts – accept that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are people that can understand your darkness, pain, and loneliness. There are people who have been in your shoes as real and as hard as it is. Go tell someone – go talk to a counselor – share your pain with others.
It is time for us to open our eyes and become aware that this is a real issue. There are people all around you that are effected with Depression. Be aware of it, but also accept it (see last point).
More than that thought – we need to open our eyes and become aware of people around us. To not just ask someone “how are you?” and ignore their answer, because you have an agenda or something that you want to tell them. Or even worst – to only ask “how are you?” via text, snap chat, instagram, Facebook, or twitter. We have to ENGAGE people and become intimately aware of what hurt may look like, sound like, and feel like.
Let us OPEN OUR EYES and become aware of the hurt!
When we accept and become aware of this brokenness – then we have to be available to respond to the family, friends, neighbors, peers, co-workers, and strangers that we see giving off the warning signs or cues. Most people who attempt suicide will also attempt to reach out or cry out to someone around them. As a High School & College Pastor I have been cried out to as well as I have been contacted by students whose friends have cried out to them. Answering the call, hearing the cry, being aware of the hurt WILL require action. It will require for you to be available for someone. To encourage them, cry with them, love them, and stand beside them. Will you step up and make time? That time you are available just may save a life.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”