Monday, August 11, 2014

Transitioning from the Island and Getting in DC mode for the JUHAN Teagle Conversation at Georgetown

The news of Robin Williams has me in a slight funk. I'm not sure any of the children who grew up in the 80s with Dead Poet's Society, Mork and Mindy, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, etc. quite know what to take of a comic's fall from grace with depression that finally won the battle over a lifetime of achievement.

It's hard to find the laugh when the sadness makes itself clear and declarative. RIP, Robin Williams. I know that English teachers around the world idolized the character you played that taught conservative society to 'seize the day.'

And so I am thinking of my cousin, Mark, who I had the fortune of spending the last weekend with once gain in celebration of his program, Hoops4Hope. I am thinking of dedication, commitment, Ubuntu, perseverance, vision, care, devotion, and international responsibility.

My cousin is, indeed, one of my heroes and I'm proud to be a part of the work that he does.

I also recognize the exhaustion of such work because, quite frankly, I'm absolutely fried, too. It's not easy work carrying the weights of the world on your shoulder, but that is what he does with focus, integrity, self awareness, and a sense of humor.

A sense of humor. Robin Williams, I consider you central to the way I fashion my own. It is a sad time for those of us you left behind - a vast majority you never knew you touched. I am beginning my work week thinking about the realness of depression, the darkness of the demons it carries, and the pressure it must have placed on you to keep the world laughing.

This is why we need to look up to others in the world who are making their impact in similar, too overlooked, ways. Each of us must find the comedy within before the tragedy swallows us whole.

Thanks Mark, for being the man that you are. It helps me to build strength to do the work that I've enjoyed doing for so many years.

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