oh captain


Oh Captain, my Captain!

How terribly sad to hear about Robin Williams dying, then discovering that he took his own life by hanging himself with a belt.

My heart goes out to his family and close friends as they struggle to take in the devastating news.

What’s even sadder is how humans can be so heartless and cruel to each other.

I hear that people are already condemning him and persecuting his nearest and dearest. How does anybody know what goes through the mind of someone considering such a horrific act?

Oh, why don’t we love more and judge less? Do the critics and people persecuting his family know what it feels like to have no-one to confide in? Do they understand what it’s like to have nobody to turn to in the moment of despair? For there to be not one single person who really understands your fears, torments, isolation and hopelessness?

The heart is so fragile and easily wounded. The future can look terrifying for lots of people, even those who claim to have a faith. What do you do when there’s nobody to assure you everything’s going to be okay – you’ll overcome this – “We’ll get through it together, because I’m going to stand by you.”?

I’m in no doubt that his wife loved him dearly and showed it often. I’m sure his children did too. But once the mind has travelled to that lonely place of desolation, it finds it difficult to come back. This tragedy is just heartbreaking and not an isolated incident amongst celebrities.

I love his film “Dead Poets’ Society” where the talented young actor, Robert Leonard, convinces us that life’s not worth living if he can’t persue his acting career, then shoots himself. Ironic really, if we could just bring Robin back from the dead, we’d all stand on our chairs to show our support – tell him to hang on – “Life is worth living, even though it can be bad.”

Hopeless people do hopeless things. Excuse the cliché, but once again it’s evident that success, fame and pots of money does not guarantee a life of happiness. Depression, mental illness and overwhelming sorrow can attack anybody.

What’s going on behind our eyes?

What’s happening beneath our smiles?

Do we really have friends on Facebook?

Who can we turn to when we need to confess our true feelings?

This time, I’m not hinting at Jesus – I’m talking about people in the flesh.

Who’s not going to smirk, laugh, critisise, judge? Who can actually be approached in the first place? The confession is a second step – finding someone to talk to who will listen unconditionally, is even harder. Then what if we open our mouths and hearts, then regret it because that trusted ‘friend’ never changed – they didn’t hug you or pray with you or assure you – They gave you a scared, strange look of fear and irritation. “Oh no, are you going to be bugging me about this from now on? Can’t you confide in someone else?” So there are no encouragement cards, no phone call later on in the week to see how you are doing. No special visit to check up on you… I

Is this what happened to Robin?

Did he look around at faces and realise that ‘Friends’ is just a funny sitcom?

When he put his belt round his neck, I wonder what we were all doing at that moment. I can guarantee he thought not many people would care about his passing. Maybe he’s half right. In a while, we’ll carry on with our lives. Shattered family, a few devastated friends and tears flowing from the eyes of many fans. But out of the people who considered themselves his buddies, who really knew him?

That’s not a slur on his real friends, I’m just pondering on how hard people find it to open up and reveal the real person inside. Oh Captain, my Captain, I want to rip another page out of the text book. It’s entitled, ‘There Is No God’. He would have listened. He would have helped, but he likes to do that through us. So I’m ripping out another page. This one’s entitled ‘Indifference’.

Julie Miller put things into perspective when she penned, ‘Naked Heart’. How many unhappy souls does this relate to?


Don’t want you,
to see me like this,
don’t want you to know
how it really is.
I put on this smile
’til you go away,
and hope that my eyes
don’t give me away.
And I can pretend
everything is alright;
I’ve gotten really good, I’ve done it all of my life,
I keep you at a distance so you can’t tell,
I’m not doing…very well.

If you find out who I really am…
If I show you what I keep in the dark…
Stripped of my defences can,
your love…really clothe my naked heart?

I’ve gotten so used
to having this pain,
I can’t imagine it could ever change,
If I should look
at he truth inside,
I feel like I might not survive.
So I’ll wrap up this part
that doesn’t look good;
I’ll make it look lovely,
like I think it should,
But if you only know who I pretend to be,
How will I know if you could really love me?

If you find out who I really am…
If I show you what I keep in the dark…
Stripped of my defences can,
your love really clothe my naked heart?

Link: The Lovely Linda…