People are complicated. I’m sure that’s not news to you.
I think about my own life and the image I always try to project: polished, confident, intelligent. You know the drill.
But I’m an iceberg and so are you.
There’s what we let other people see, and then there are all those other layers and dimensions we keep below the surface: our past, our weaknesses, our fears. To be seen as who we aspire to be requires that those aspects of who we are remain hidden. But all that other “stuff” is still there below the surface.
Being in relationship with each other – unless we keep it strictly superficial – is going to be tricky, maybe even dangerous. We’re sure to bump up against each other and those layers we didn’t know were there for others will bruise us, while ours will bloody them.
The loss of comedic great Robin Williams this week really drove this point home to me. Here was a guy who brought so much joy and laughter to his audiences and seemed to always have a funny retort and positive outlook.
I think I could have been friends with him if our worlds had intersected in some way. No doubt I am not alone in that. He was a rare presence.
But he is quoted as having once said, “You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear.” He chose to use comedy and acting as his defense and referred to it as his way of “expunging the demon”.
Beneath the surface of his exuberance and creative brilliance, though, he struggled mightily with that fear, that “demon”. Ultimately, it appears to have proved too much for him. Depression, substance abuse, sadness. It seems he couldn’t keep that part of the iceberg submerged any longer and he chose to leave this sea of humanity. What a crushing loss for his family and all who were touched by him.
We will never really know what it was like for him to fight that demon. We only know it defeated him and we are the poorer.
The truth is we are all leading challenging and often difficult lives. What shows on the surface is only one dimension of all we’re going through and sadly, some are in danger of falling apart completely without our even realizing it.
While it’s dangerous to get up close to each other – we might get rejected, embarrassed, or inconvenienced – the risk is greater when we keep our distance.
As Christians, we are called to community: real, authentic, God-honoring community.
Humor is a start, but we have to go deeper to offer hope to our fellow strugglers, the hope of a genuine relationship with the true God.
It’s really not an option in this sea of icebergs.
(Would you like to receive an email when I publish new posts? If so, please click the “sign up” button in the right sidebar above. I’d be honored.)
- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016