Living As A Light

光. Light by Pan via Flickr
光. Light by Pan. via Flickr

I’m sure by now you have heard about the passing of actor and comedian, Robin Williams. Williams, who was 63, was found unconscious and not breathing inside his home in Tiburon, California, on Monday, August 11, 2014. He was pronounced dead of suspected suicide. Since then an outpouring of mourning, remembrance and sadness has been flooding every media outlet. It’s become apparent that Robin Williams wasn’t just an entertainer, but for the many people out there in the world, he was an inspirational light that has touched so many with his kindness.

Ben Affleck @BenAffleck: “Robin had a ton of love & did so much for so many. He made Matt & my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that?”

Ben Stiller @RedHourBen: “OK, I’ll try. I met him when I was 13 and a huge fan and he was so kind and I watched him be kind to every fan [I] ever saw him with…And with other actors he was so generous and brilliant. He made everyone feel special and equal around him even though he was the genius…His heart was so big and even if you didn’t know him, what he gave everyone was that same spirit in his work, so we all felt it…His impact on the world was so positive. He did so much good for people. He made me and so many people laugh so hard for a very long time… And because they don’t really tweet, this message represents all the Stillers (Jerry, Anne and Amy) who Robin was a great friend to. xxxxx”

Mindy Kaling @mindykaling: “I am named after a character from a Robin Williams TV show when my parents still lived in Africa. He meant so much, to so many, so far” away.

Judd Apatow @JuddApatow: “Isn’t it mind blowing how many times and ways Robin Williams touched your life with his work? For so long. What a gift he gave.”

Barack Obama @BarackObama: “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny … and everything in between. But he was one of a kind.” —President Obama

Robin Williams has inspired and changed so many lives, and has left a legacy after his successful career. He has truly lived a life so many of us strive for every day. He has always been known to put others before himself. He took the time to give advice to younger actors and actresses, and made it a priority to spread laughter and kindness with so many people, even if he wasn’t feeling well himself.

What made me tear up after this specific celebrity death wasn’t just the fact that he has appeared in so many of my favorite childhood movies, or that he was truly a hilarious man and a very talented actor, but that there may have been moments in his life where he didn’t even realize how much of a wonderful and inspirational person he really was. And despite any personal troubles he may have had, he still chose to live his life as a bright light for others. Even through his art he inspired others to keep a chin up, pursue their passions, and live life to the fullest. In one of my favorite films, Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, says something that has become part of my life’s motto ever since.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

And remember, there’s always help available, just call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

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