Robin Williams and Depression

RobinWIlliamsWhen Robin Williams took his life this week many people expressed sorrow that the world had lost such a great talent. Without a doubt, those of us who love comedy have often looked to Mr. Williams as one of the funniest men alive. Sure, he could push the envelope of taste, but he was truly funny, and incredibly gifted.

We may never know what pain led a man who, by all accounts, was as compassionate and kind as he was gifted, to end his own life. A couple of ideas have been floated around, but nobody but Mr. Williams really knows the truth. What we do know is that his death can serve as a warning to all of us.

In this weird little world I have carved out for myself I see death from a couple of different perspectives. As a crime scene investigator I have been part of many suicide investigations. As a pastor, I have dealt with many grieving families. Too many. Invariably, the person who takes their own life leaves behind a whole host of grieving friends and family, and all of them have the same question: Why?

One of the things that I heard right after Mr. Williams’ death was, “How could a guy so funny, and so rich end his own life?” The short answer is depression. I’m not talking about the kind of depression I get, where I look in the mirror, see my face and think, “Well, I guess that’s as good as its going to get…” I am talking about deep, clinical depression. I have seen it firsthand, and it can be debilitating.

I must admit that as a pastor, often my first response was always, “Well, let’s pray about it, and God will help you feel better.” And I still believe that there is a huge spiritual side to depression. Many people will respond as God gives them hope, and they recover. There are some people, though, who need more.

Telling some people to “just try to feel better” is like asking someone who has been hit by a car to try to not have a broken arm. We need to stop treating those who have issues as people of little faith, or people who are damaged. The truth is that all of us are damaged by living in this world. Some of us just have deeper scars than others. Some of us wear our scars where the world can see them, and some of us some have scars so deeply hidden that people think we are fine. We worry that if our friends and family knew how damaged we really are they would shun us. And sadly, sometimes we are right.

I posted something on my Facebook page imploring pastors and church leaders to quit handing out trite answers to those who are hurting and help people find professional help. As Dirty Harry so eloquently put it, “A man’s got to know his limitations…”

How can we as Christians help? Listen. Then listen again. Finally, listen again. I was never good at listening, I just kept trying to fix whatever I thought was wrong. I finally got wise enough to realize that there are plenty of things other than carburetors that I can’t fix. The truth is that you and I can’t fix anything.

God is the healer. It is God who can restore those who are so deeply broken. Sometimes he heals by using medical professionals, sometimes he uses pastors and sometimes he uses people like us. I believe that more often than not, he uses all of the above.

If you know someone who is hurting, get them some help. Your help, a doctor’s help, a pastor’s help, it doesn’t matter. Get them as much help as you can as often as you can.

Hoping to find some peace in the brokenness… Jerry

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Mary’s Story

little-baby-hands-with-mom-and-dads-hands-3-1111673-mI’m thinking of my baby boy. He had the sweetest little face I have ever seen on a baby. His eyes sparkled and his little laugh lit up the room. As I held him close and sang to him I could hear the cooing sounds he made right before he dropped off to sleep. I would come to the side of his bed when he called out in the night. I rocked him and sang lullabies to him, and taught him to read. He would look up at me and say, “I love you, momma,” and my heart would melt. I love him so much. Continue reading

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Challenger Baseball

Challenger Baseball

A couple of weeks ago I was driving past the Little League park down the street from my house and saw something I had never seen. A person in a wheelchair was being pushed around the bases. The smiles all around were infectious, so I had to stop and see what was going on. Continue reading

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Fanmail!

1426260_41975453I got some fan mail on my website the other day. This beloved reader wanted to know who I was, um, being physically nice to at the paper so they would run my column. They also called me a hack and followed up their comments with a second missive, just as derisive as the first. Maybe they aren’t a fan after all.

I will admit, my first reaction was laughter. I imagined some chubby guy sitting in his mom’s basement in tighty-whiteys taking out his frustration with God, the church and the world in general by hammering out his post with his stubby Cheetos-stained fingers. Continue reading

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Bandages In The Lemon Muffins

bandages and lemon muffinsI took Lanette to the Souplantation for a nice lunch. If you’ve never been to a Souplantation, you don’t know what you are missing. There are more salads than you can even dream up, or you can make your own. Then you get to the different kinds of pasta, chili, soup and baked goods. It was the baked goods that got me in trouble.

I was using the tongs to pick up a blueberry muffin. I love blueberry muffins, and I could hear their siren call while I was wasting my time filling my plate with salad. Continue reading

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Sermon Audio: 180 Degrees

180DegreesPart of the “Heroes” series at Remnant Church in Imperial…

“180 Degrees”
Sunday, April 6, 2014 Pastor Jerry Godsey
mp3 audio:“180 Degrees”

 

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55 Years Old

1267744_87396573In February I turned 55 years old. That means I have been on this planet for over 20,000 days or 28,987,200 minutes! I was going to figure out how many seconds it is, but my calculator started smoking while trying to figure it out. I am running out of boxes on forms. I have gone from the 18-30 year old box to the 55 and over box. They don’t have any more boxes after that! Needless to say, I have been here a while. Continue reading

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Sermon Audio: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair TodayPart of the “Heroes” series at Remnant Church
“Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Pastor Jerry Godsey
mp3 audio: “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”

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Sermon Audio: Pits, Prisons and Palaces

Pits Prisions and PalacesPart of the “Heroes” series at Remnant Church
“Pits, Prisons and Palaces”
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Pastor Jerry Godsey
mp3 audio:“Pits, Prisons and Palaces”

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Sermon Audio: Chosen

ChosenPart of the “Heroes” series at Remnant Church
“Chosen”
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Pastor Jerry Godsey
mp3 audio: “Chosen”

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