Robin Williams

Robin Williams, beloved comedian and accomplished actor, died yesterday…  A sad day.  On my Facebook feed, every single post last night had something to do with the passing of this great star – people of every generation posted stories and memories of his movies that affected their lives…  Isn’t that amazing?  Whether it was remembering “Aladdin” and “Mrs Doubtfire” or “Mork and Mindy” or “Dead Poet’s Society…”  We all have memories of this actor and the ways he made us laugh or cry.

Dead Poet’s Society was my favorite movie for a very long time…  I cried for days after the first time I saw it.  (I still do.)  I think this was one of those moments that made me think I could be someone in the world…  What was the quote?  “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”  His role as Prof. Keating reminded me that one person can make a difference in other people’s lives…  Especially with the fragile lives of kids.  I loved that he taught them to go ahead and be themselves, even if it’s a little different – in fact, embrace what’s different and live!  Ahhh…  I could start crying again, now.

I have funny memories of Mork and Mindy – as a little kid, my parents and I used to walk around the house, saying, “Na-nu, Na-nu” to each other.

Aladdin brings back memories of my youngest sister’s toddler days…  We would watch that movie over and over… and over… and over again.  For awhile, I knew every word to every song.  And it was always fun to sing and play – it really never got old.

Patch Adams made me smile – and cry.  The message of compassion and love for all people always struck and chord for me.

What Dreams May Come was different.  And beautiful.

And Awakenings…  Won my heart.  Every time it’s on TV, I stop to watch.  A beautiful story of the fight for real life… over just sustaining a heart beat.  Once again, the compassion and love for people came through in determination, humor, play, quiet sincerity, and grace.

So many movies in this talented life…  So sad to see it end so soon.  And so marvelous that he was able to affect so many lives through his art…  Amazing.

“What we do know is that, as the chemical window closed, another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug – and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family.”          —Awakenings

Life is short, friends.  It’s time to Carpe Diem!  Live life boldly.  Work hard.  Play lots.  Value and nurture those friendships.  Love your family.  DO life.  We each have a role to play – lives to share – memories to make.

If nothing else, let Robin Williams remind us of that…  And to live with laughter.  What better way to honor his memory?!

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Why not?

So…  I have this friend.  We’ll call her “Jill.”  She has – several times over the last few years – gotten me to do things I had no interest in doing.  I could despise her.  But instead, I love her all the more!

A couple of examples:

Several years ago, I planned a sledding outing for the youth group kids at my church.  I had every intention of being the photographer and snack lady while everyone else went up and down the hill.  (I’ve had an irrational fear of going downhill with anything other than my own feet or a car for as long as I can remember…  Bikes?  Ick.  Rollerblades?  Absolutely not!  Skis?  Ahhh.  #$&& no!  Even sleds…  Not so much.)  But Jill, her hubby, and their kids cheered me on til I gave it a try…  And I loved it (screaming and laughing all the way down the hill)!  I even bought sleds for my hubby and I that Christmas!

Another time, we took the youth group kids to the Mall of America to spend the afternoon at the amusement park within the mall.  We rode every roller coaster and ride we could, multiple times, and had a great day!  Then, it was dinner time and we decided to try the new “cowboy” restaurant…  Which just happened to have an electric bull.  Yep.  You guessed it.  I had no interest in doing it myself, but was more than willing to cheer on the other adults!  (I am the klutziest, most uncoordinated and ungraceful person I know.  This was not going to be pretty if I tried…)  And yet.  I was convinced to give it a go!  Ha!  Those things are not easy (just to get on it was a trick!).  But I tried – and it was so fun!

And tonight.  We went out to celebrate a dear friend and co-worker as she bids farewell to move home to Alabama – and we let her decide where we would go for the evening.  Jennifer is the queen of competition and chose a bar that had a spelling bee.  (Have you ever heard of such a thing?!  Hilarious.)  So a bunch of us went – I was planning to do what I do best.  Cheer her on! But nooooo…  Once again, Jill convinced us all to do it!  You don’t get to just write down the words and turn in your answers…  Oh no.  You have to get up on stage like a real spelling bee and spell for the whole room!  Oh no.  I went into panic mode.  (I have no problem giving a sermon to 150 people – talking about personal things like faith and life experience…  But a spelling bee?!  In front of strangers?!  Good grief.)  I did it.  And had FUN.  And made it to the fourth round.  Huh…!

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I’m sure there’s been lots of other things she’s gotten me to do, too.  She’s a fun-natured, spirited, lovely, dear, slightly crazy person that I adore.  And she’s opened up my world to all kinds of silly adventures – and I love her for it.

Why do we stop ourselves from trying new, silly things?  I think I always assume I’ll screw up, look bad, make a fool of myself, yada yada yada.  But really.  Who cares?!  I’m good at laughing at myself – I’ve perfected that art.  So, why not?

When I feel the urge to say, “No, thanks.  I’ll cheer you on.”  I’ve got to remember to think of Jill.  Life’s too short to not participate.  Bring on the fun!

Do you have a “Jill?”  Someone who inspires you to take big – and small – risks?  Are you good at jumping in?  Or do you hold back?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Have a great weekend – and try something new!