In the three days since Robin Williams' death there has been much said, much written, much shared.
My initial instinct was to not say anything myself. Sometimes I prefer to write about silly things than important things. The important things are too hard to say or too hard to process or require too much analysis and thought and it's easier to just write about breast feeding in line at Chick-fil-a.
But I keep thinking about Robin Williams, and about his death and every time I think about it I feel so darn sad.
The tragedy has sparked much discussion about suicide and the "appropriateness" of it, for lack of a better word. A very popular blog post has been going around in which the author states that suicide is always a selfish act. He states "there is nothing positive to say about it." I did not read the article because sometimes you just know that you don't need to read certain things. But even reading a snippet of the post has made me think- how do we treat someone who ended his life "by choice." Do we revere him? Do we condemn him? Do we honor him?
What about those of us who believe in God? Where do we "put" a man such as Robin Williams? In hell? In heaven? What does God say to a man who ended the life that He gave him? Is He mad? Is He forgiving? Does He understand?
The truth is that the older I get, the less I understand about God. I used to think I had the Man totally figured out, but I don't at all. There are some things I have been told about God that I just don't believe anymore. I don't believe he is a God to be feared or that he is a God of anger. I don't believe in a hateful, punishing God. I do believe in a fair God, and I do believe in a merciful God; how He can be both of those things, I don't know, but I believe He is.
A lot of the things I know and believe about God come from knowing my dad. My dad put on a tough act, but the truth is he was nothing but love. He disciplined his kids, he got frustrated with his kids, he about dang near lost it when we totalled his cars and put holes in the family room walls and brought home loser boyfriends. But none of that came close to comparing with the amount of love my dad showed to us. At the end of the day, He was kind. He was forgiving. He was absolutely overflowing with love for his eight kids- a love that always always outweighed the punishments, the discipline, the anger.
I guess I have to believe that God is the same way. Justice and discipline, yes, but trumped by mercy and love every time.
I believe He understands perfectly our situations.
I believe He is kind.
I believe He is merciful.
I believe He has it all figured out.
I believe that maybe it is all much simpler than we make it out to be down here.
And I believe that when God sees Robin Williams again, there is a look of understanding, a long hug, and a terrific joke.