Message Mondays: How Do We Process A Celebrity Death? (Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Last Day On Earth”)

robin williams

It’s a very sad day today, as Academy Award winner Robin Williams, one of our favourite actors and comedians, and one of society’s popular, and much loved celebrities, passed away from an apparent suicide, though the investigation still continues, and the cause may turn out to be completely different. Though it may seem insensitive to some that I post about this here, I thought it would be best to write about this horrific, senseless tragedy, use this website to offer condolences that are more than 140 characters, and to give readers some resemblance of hope and assurance during this time of sadness and chaos.

Robin Williams was very well known for his comedic roles, and I first saw him in the movie Flubber in 1997, where he played a brilliant yet socially awkward scientist (not counting Aladdin, where he voiced the Genie), and I was blown away by his range- he could do comedy, drama…ok, so he may not have done a full-on action role in his career, like Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for, yet from my first impressions, he was very versatile in his work. And the rest is history as I actively followed many of his earlier films (apart from Good Morning Vietnam, which I will see in the future, but I will see it in a different light…) and most of his later films as well. There wasn’t really a role he couldn’t tackle or handle, as Robin had played in some of my favourite films ever (inclusive of Flubber and Aladdin), ranging from:-

  • Mrs Doubtfire (a husband masquerading as a nanny so that he could see his kids after his divorce)
  • The Night At The Museum trilogy (the mannequin Theodore Roosevelt at the museum where Ben Stiller’s character works)
  • Hook (a grown up Peter Pan in this ‘sequel’ or adaptation of sorts of the popular Disney fairytale)
  • Bicentennial Man (a robot in the future who longs to be a human),
  • Jack (playing a 10 year old child with a disorder that makes him look 4x older than he really is)
  • Good Will Hunting (the eccentric, unconventional therapist who works with Matt Damon’s character),
  • Dead Poets Society (a professor who challenges a rigid college school with rules, impacting the lives of all of his students)
  • House Of D (the special needs friend of a teenager who runs away from home and discovers himself in France)
  • Robots (the friend/sidekick of the main protagonist, who is a robot, in a land of robots, in this animated flick)

And while I could discuss more about my favourite films with Robin starring as the main character or supporting characters (which will be explored in detail further in other posts- Top Tens, TV Thursdays, Sentimental Saturdays– later on this week), let me just say this, and reserve my analysis for later. Robin was a brilliant actor- though I have not met him in person, I am sure that he would have been easy-going and a joy to get along with; and it’s such a shame that he is not with us anymore. 63 is an incredibly young age for someone to leave this world, and if anything, this unfortunate event has prompted me to look inwards, as any day can be our last day on earth.

When I first heard the news, I was in shock, as I thought ‘how can it be that one of my favourite actors is now gone?’- but then the denial stage passed, and I thought to myself rationally. Everyone will die eventually, that’s a fact, and it’s also a fact that we will not know what will happen tomorrow- sad to say, but it’s possibly that you or I will die tomorrow, or it’s possible that Jesus comes back tomorrow.

As a Christian site, it’s natural to try to ‘spiritualise’ everything, and try to find the eternal significance in every event that occurs. But when something so tragic occurs, like a much loved actor passing away suddenly in this case; how do you reconcile your beliefs with something that is so tragic? How do you offer hope to those in the direst situations, or those affected by a great loss? If you think about how Robin’s family and those who worked with him on The Crazy Ones last year or Night At The Museum and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn this year would feel (if it was suicide, maybe friends and family could have seen the signs and prevented it?), maybe some family members or friends, are bitter at God, maybe some of them blame themselves. So what would I say to them that could comfort, and assure them that God is on their side? Well nothing much.

God hates it when death occurs. He created man and woman to live forever, and then the devil stepped in. So He’s crying as much as Robin’s family, maybe even more so. God has been there, as Jesus was sacrificed on the cross some 2000 years ago, so He knows the pain that everyone is feeling, and more so. But that probably wouldn’t bring any sense, healing or comfort to those involved, personally or otherwise, in Robin’s life and his work. Still, there is one thing that I know- the only thing we can do as fans and supporters of Robin’s work right now is to pray for the family and pray for God’s healing hand of restoration, as He comforts and draws people to Himself.

Though not every situation is caused by God, every situation can be used by God to make something beautiful from the ashes. Though I am not sure if Robin was a Christian or not, the fact remains that the family need healing; and I pray that God heals them in time, and that they would not become bitter and twisted from this event. And while what we can do is pray for the family; through this out-from-left-field ordeal, we are also inadvertently jolted into reassessing our life, and actively living each day to the fullest, as if it’s our last day on Earth. Because Robin’s death will impact people’s lives, due to his extensive filmography and larger than life personality; it’s a fact that at least one person will come to Christ as a result. But that’s also a fact worth wrestling with and pondering over.

So what short message could I impart to each of you, so that it doesn’t sound preachy or insensitive to Robin’s family? I would ask you to treasure your days on Earth, and always keep eternity in mind, as we never know when our time is up. We never know what is around the corner, and we never know when a tragedy can hit us. I think Steven Curtis Chapman says it best in his songs “Last Day On Earth” (as we contemplate what we would do on a possible last day on Earth) and “Beauty Will Rise” (a testimony type of song, that reassures is that God is in control), so here are these songs here and here, and this video below, and hopefully they can provide meaning and solace in a much more effective way where we as a site can’t at this moment.

Have you listened to these songs? Are you teary? I know I am slightly emotional…how could you not be? I will now instead give you all the opportunity to say what you want to say about Robin Williams in the comments below. Whether you loved his acting or not, this loss will be pretty big for everyone, even if you only saw and liked Aladdin. Let us know in the comments your favourite Robin Williams film, and also if you could write a message to his family (you never know, they could be regular readers of this site), that would be great.

11 thoughts on “Message Mondays: How Do We Process A Celebrity Death? (Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Last Day On Earth”)”

    1. Yeah, it definitely is emotional, I’m not sure if Robin Williams was a Christian, but I did find a few interesting articles that allude to the fact that he did at one point make a genuine commitment:

      http://www.christianpost.com/news/robin-williams-considered-christ-but-he-was-never-set-free-says-christian-media-critic-124797/
      http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.film.critic.ted.baehr.says.robin.williams.accepted.jesus.in.rehab/39599.htm

      All we can do is pray for his family, and pray that God gives them peace and comfort.

  1. Like you Johnathan, I was in shock when I heard of Robin’s death. He was one of my favourite actors. Funny and versatile, like you said. I pray he’s with the Lord, but we just don’t know. My family and I felt so grieved when we heard the news that our hearts were filled with anguish for his family, and for the unsaved. We need to take every moment as a chance to sow a seed in an unbeliever’s life, because we never know if that person will die the next morning, and Hell is an absolutely terrible place for anyone to go.
    My favourite film of Robin’s would have to be Jamanji.

        1. Well I guess I knew his face and not his name and I only knew him in Jumanji. For all the other films, I don’t think I have seen any of them. :) I don’t really watch movies, I listen to music more than I watch movies. That’s why I’ve missed out some of what you guys are saying about Robin Williams. :) Everywhere I went to on the internet yesterday, it was mostly about Robin Williams, that’s when I went to “wiki” him out. :)

    1. Thanks for the comment Luc, glad you liked my article.

      By the way, I wrote it, not Jon lol…

      Be on the lookout for more Robin Williams themed articles this week- TV Thursdays, Sentimental Saturdays, Top Tens!

        1. Thanks for that Luc, it’s great that you are loving the blog posts and reviews that me and my team do here. Thanks for visiting the website, and feel free to like on facebook and follow on twitter.

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