Glenn remembers Robin Williams: He was a humble man with a humble and servant’s heart

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The world today is mourning the loss of Robin Williams. Yesterday afternoon, a friend came over to the house and said, “Have you heard the news?” TheBlaze had just posted it just a few minutes before, and it was stunning. And then when you heard how his life ended, it made it worse.

His family requested privacy as they grieve. Of course, that means the media has to immediately camp out and fly helicopters over his home. Why we have this need to see the family, why we had to see what was happening over their home from a helicopter is beyond me. So much for honoring that one.

But the other one that the family requested was this, “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.” I hope so too. That’s what this network is going to try to do. Some are doing the usual dumpster diving into the why didn’t we do this or that or what could they have done or what did the family know or whatever.

Some people are just choosing to immerse themselves in the highlight reels of Robin Williams’ impeccable career, and that’s probably a better place to start at least. It is truly an amazing body of work. Even in tragedy and death, he’s still making us laugh. That’s what he did. I personally think he was addicted to our laughs. I think that’s what he lived for. He couldn’t laugh himself apparently very much at the time. I think he lived off of our laughs. This is why I think we feel we know him somewhat.

His talent was beyond immeasurable. If you look at things like Good Morning Vietnam, it’s an absolute classic and a masterpiece of ad-libbing. Not only in this but also in Aladdin, he took a blank piece of paper and went from there. I don’t know if there’s another actor that has done or could do what he has done on the screen and just make things up on the spot and make a monster hit after monster hit after monster hit.

But it wasn’t just the way he could make us laugh, there was something more to him, a searching in his intellect. We saw it in Good Will Hunting and The Dead Poets Society, countless other powerful and serious roles. But I think the thing that really means the most, why we feel we know him and love him, it wasn’t just the laughs or his ever searching, but it was his heart. You saw it in many of his films, but you also saw it outside of the films.

By many accounts, this is a guy who was a genuine caring soul. You’re not going to see anybody unearth a video of him berating producers or treating people like garbage. He treated everybody the same. And you could see it. He lived his life this way, giving blood on 9/11 or serving our troops. He did tour after tour with our troops for years, USO tours.

There’s a clip of him performing in Kuwait just a few years ago, and in the middle of the routine, the trumpet sounds for lowering of the flag, and all of the soldiers turn around to face the flag. Well, he didn’t have any idea what was happening. All he knew is that the entire audience had just stopped listening to him and began looking the other way – a little jarring to a performer, I’m sure. He handled it with humility and also with improv. Watch.

He was a humble man with a humble and servant’s heart. Even in the effect that his comedy had on us, I think he was living off of our laughs, but he was serving us. I didn’t know him. I don’t think people who even claim to know him really knew him. I don’t think you’re ever going to see anybody on TV that’s going to give you a clue as to what he was going through. It was his journey, and it’s quite honestly none of our business.

Depression is a dark, dark, awful place to be. What people don’t understand is sometimes suicide looks like it’s a reasonable place. He was battling addiction, and when you try to get sober, you take away the one thing that gives you the escape from the pain. And your escape hatch is gone, and then you’re forced to stand there to face whatever it is you’ve been running from. It’s really hard. And you get good at telling people that everything is okay.

I will tell you that my first thought with my wife, we sat down yesterday afternoon, and we read what his wife issued. And she said this morning, I left my best friend at home. And my wife stopped reading it there. In my mind’s eye, I saw his wife ask her husband, who she knew was ill, “Are you okay?” And he said, “Yes, I’m fine, go,” knowing that he already had a plan.

When you’re a big celebrity, people are afraid to tell you the truth. People are afraid to tell you anything because you’re a source of income. I don’t know if that’s why people were afraid to dig deep with him or that he was just really good at covering his pain. One of his good friends, the CEO of the Laugh Factory, said today, “He was always in character – you never saw the real Robin. I knew him 35 years, and I never knew him.”

People need to understand the mind is a powerful, powerful trap. It is really an amazing thing. Negative thoughts creep in. We’ve all wrestled with them at one stage or another, one size or another, but for some, they burst in like a rush of mighty waters. We’ve all heard you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, you’re not loved, you’re not worthy to be loved, you’re a fraud, you’re a phony. The tape runs in all of our heads.

We’re all prone to believe these lies, but something happens to some people. Clinical depression is different than just I’m sad, and people need to understand that. I believed them in my own life. My own family, we have had two suicides, my mother and my brother-in-law. And what people don’t understand is it seems like a reasonable thing when you’re living it.

Years ago when I was in my 20s, I almost repeated my mother’s life. I would drive on I-84 every day to work, and there was a bridge abutment halfway home and halfway to work. And every day to and from, I would pray, God, just give me the strength to swerve into that bridge abutment. God didn’t answer that prayer for me, and I was too much of a coward to do anything else.

And by the grace of God and a good friend who said to me one day, “Come to the hospital with me, will you?” that I did, and I’m standing here today because of an unanswered prayer and a good friend. I don’t know if anybody could’ve said anything to help Robin Williams, probably not, but the one thing I do know is that I was saved by a good friend. If you know somebody who’s struggling, don’t be too embarrassed to ask if they’re okay. Just ask. Tell them, reassure them, everything is going to get better, and it will.

Last year, a 12-year-old named Noah was saved after he posted a picture of his cut wrist on Instagram, and he said day of scheduled suicide, February 8, 2013, my birthday. Well, the Internet rallied and handwrote him over 7,000 letters, flooding him with encouragement. He is alive today because somebody cared.

Our battle is a spiritual battle, and not all of us have on the full armor that we need. Sometimes we intentionally take it off. We have an amazing, powerful force that lives inside of this body. It is beyond our understanding. I’m amazed at how frightened so many of us are by the power that resides inside each of us. I’m amazed by Christians who think that it is blasphemous to somehow say that you were created in the image of God, which gives you the power of God when Jesus himself said all this stuff that I’ve just done, all this and more you too can do. That’s how powerful that being is.

It’s almost like that genie that was kept in that little, itty bitty living space that Robin Williams talked about. We’re terrified at it. We’re terrified that we can’t look inside because we might not like what we find or the worst case scenario, I think, is that so many of us fear we won’t find anything at all. That’s a lie.

The best thing we can do is just be there, show up, and fight alongside each other. We all laughed together because of Robin Williams, and we have all cried with him as well. We shared in just a little bit of his pain together, at least we have now here at the end. We should feel blessed that we are able to witness a kind, gentle heart and talent that was kept in that prison of flesh called Robin Williams, but just like in his role as the genie, he is finally free.

  • J squared

    You either let the Holy Spirit in or darkness, your choice.

    • Dana Lamps

      For many they do not understand this. Now is the time to teach and not to judge. Now is the time to be a friend and help where we can and be there.

      • J squared

        Not judging, we all have times when we let evil in, just saying it is our choice to try to fight it, that’s all.

    • DeRaven

      That is an incredibly arrogant, blind attitude. I love God. I love God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit, but when the anxiety attacks come that completely overwhelm me something whispers in my brain telling me that God doesn’t exist, and that even I’m going to hell anyway, and that if He does exist I will never be forgiven for the sins of my past despite claiming the Blood of Christ and that God doesn’t exist but satan does…do you notice how I didn’t use punctuation? That would be because there is no punctuation in the constant run on sentences in my mind. They all blur together. Endless. Relentless. It isn’t always about choice. For people in chronic clinical depression, sometimes in their minds, the unreasonable seems a reasonable choice.

    • Shawn Cameron

      Do you also believe mental illness is just demon possession?

      • J squared

        I think the devil works to make us ill either mental or physically. We need to seek the light in order to overcome.

        • Shawn Cameron

          Gee how did I know.

  • DeRaven

    Difficult to talk about his life and not talk about his death. Glenn started to, then moved on to clinical depression and suicide. What else can we do right now? Glenn handled it with dignity and compassion. I really didn’t like Beck in the past, but he’s matured recently. I’m so sorry for Robin and his family; my prayers go out to his survivors.

  • Margaret Lauer

    I don’t agree that letting the Holy Spirit in or the darkness is a choice. My husband suffers from depression and when he is the darkness, it not his choice. Who would choose darkness rather than God? Depression and addiction are not choices one makes; they are illnesses. It’s so easy to say that the person chooses to be a drug addict, an alcoholic, or depressed. WRONG!! If you lived with someone who has tried to commit suicide three times, you would be more compassionate.

    • highpriestess

      he hasn’t succeeded yet?? wow he really wants you to suffer!

    • velcro

      Margaret, google Cannabis depression. This can help your husband.

  • soybomb315

    i dont know why all the MSM (from cable TV to talk radio) feels the need to issue character judgements

    • phx2hot4tess

      Why can’t you be humble and have things? Do you have to live in a dirt floor cabin to be humble? Sounds like reverse snobbism to me.

      • soybomb315

        Can you provide evidence that Robin Williams was a humble man? If that is your claim, you need to provide some evidence.

        I would not say he cant be humble, but i dont see any indications of it. Again, my question is why all the media types feel the need to judge his character without knowing him.

        • Bean

          Isn’t that what you’re doing? Just saying….

          • Rita

            Some people say this is a choice. And yes part of me agrees with that statement. A very selfish act. But the other part of me says no its not a choice. Your mind gets so consumed with your problems that you lose all sense of reality. People have always brushed this under the rug but this is something that should be addressed. I can’t say anymore if this is the ultimate sin. I used to until it happened to someone I once loved. I just prayed that God would forgive and that they had asked for forgiveness

          • soybomb315

            shouldnt the burden be on those claiming him to be humble?

  • gduckd

    Glenn,—- Humble, servant, home, family, suicide. Which word is not relevant to the other four words. tick tock,tick tock, tick tock,

  • Geoffrey Hogue

    I have found myself with tears in my eyes more than once today after the passing of one of the most creative, dynamic entertainers of my generation. Over the years he has made me laugh out loud, enlightened me on what compassion and giving are, showed me his humanity in the dramatic roles he portrayed, and taught us all that depression in conjunction with substance abuse is not easily dealt with o…r recovered from. If it has opened healthcare providers eyes to the magnitude of this problem in our country then he will not have died in vain. It is time people started paying more attention to the cries for help all around them and provide the types of therapy and aftercare the people with this “disease” need. And yes, depression and substance abuse are a disease. Love them and support them because tomorrow, like our brother and friend Robin Williams, they could be gone. <3

  • mark1961

    People keep talking about his depression and addictions. Some have suggested drugs and alcohol led to his depression. But that is wrong. It was his inner demons, whatever they might have been, that caused his depression which led to his addictions. Many, any times people turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their pain.

    • Dean Weimer

      True but not in all cases…. Some addicts were not depressed until the recovery process… But a large part depression sufferers do self medicate to ease and cope :( such a sad but necessary topic!!

    • landofaahs

      People like to call it a sickness because it intimates that you are not responsible for it. Like getting cancer; you couldn’t help it. But you can help it when you are the one who pulls the trigger. A lot of diseases are brought on by choice of behavior. HIV just to name one comes to mind. At least if you got it through sinful behavior.

  • landofaahs

    I grieve because he died a non-Christian and that has eternal consequences. He berated Christians a lot and now he Gets to meet the leader we follow.

    • phx2hot4tess

      Do you really think Christ is going to punish a person who is sick? Someone who takes their life isn’t well. The Savior loves all of us Christian and otherwise and He isn’t out there to beat us all into submission to his will.

      • landofaahs

        We are all sick sinners in need of the “Great Physician” Jesus Christ. So yes your are not well spiritually when you take your own life. No he is not there to beat us into submission. On the contrary he gives us free will to choose right from wrong and Christ(life) or not(death).

        • Shawn Cameron

          He at one time was a member of Episcopal church. As far as his personal relationship with God, I cannot comment on that because I know nothing about it.

          • msdot

            If you’ve read some of the interviews he had done you would know that he was a Christian…there is no doubt in my mind that he is in heaven. He may have made fun of some religious ideals, but he never bashed them

    • Ele Mollenhauer Larson

      He did berate Christians? I couldn’t find anything about his ‘Spirituality’? I did find it odd them discussing ’20 years sober’? Then this ‘Hazelden tune-up’? Well I’ve never heard of such a thing!!! And frankly it certainly would never be followed by three weeks shutting yourself in your house??? Sounds like it just couldn’t stop drinking!! And boy that would be major depression. Now they’re saying ‘Parkinson’s’? All drunks have neuropathy. Come on. Enough. He’s gone. Stop it.

  • highpriestess

    I dont believe that killing yourself is setting yourself free….Your body is not your own, it is God’s, and in God’s image you were born, and given the gift, the greatest gift, the breath of life, it’s not up to you to say it’s ended…this is why suicide is the most heinous crime, because you kill the god in you….God said “I have great plans for you! that is your faith, that is what you have to believe, because to let that go you might as well be dead….and the dead bury the dead


    Why is everyone idolizing Williams whom committed suicide? The great actress Lauren Bacall died yesterday of natural causes, where’s her tributes from Beck and others?

    • Hooshaw

      Suicide sets a bad example and it is illegal.
      Obeying the law is an important responsibility, especially for the super famous. He should be made an example of by seizing his wealth as a punishment.

      • Arielle McCarthy

        Sure lets seize the money he worked hard to make to make a living for him and his family and make his family pay for what they had no control over lets make life even harder for them now that his daughter and wife have to spend the rest of their lives without him . Sure lets make them pay.
        ….. wow.. Suicide isnt illegal to the DEAD i dont know if you noticed but once your dead you cant be getting back up like . Omg i didnt know this was illegal ill just come back to life

        • Hooshaw

          I was wrong.
          It is legal to murder yourself,
          But failing to murder yourself is illegal.

    • Radical Conservative

      Simple try reading a little. Williams HELPED people. Helped the needy, donated his concert profits to victims, donated his time to the troops, paid for all the medical bills for his friend, pay for college for others, did free commercials for St Judes. Bacall sat on her ass doing NOTHING for 50 years…THAT’S WHY

    • GailStensland

      Ms. Bacall was 89 yrs old and has been living outside the limelight for YEARS. I mentioned her death to a few (younger) people, and they had no clue who she even was. While she was a stunning, exceptionally talented actress in the prime of her career, those days are long gone. She really was truly one of the great ones, but I have to confess I thought she died a while ago.

  • James Loop

    Glen your right on the money, we will miss Robin.

  • Rooster’s Rage

    I was disabled in 2005 from a work related accident after a few weeks and multiple surgeries I finally came home the pain was unbearable, but not as unbearable as knowing that my life would be completely different. As a family man I loved coaching my kids baseball teams and we would go camping, Knowing that this accident had made my wife and kids life that much harder it really threw me into a depressive state that if I had not received help from a great psychologist and an even greater support team with my wife and kids walking hand and hand with me I could have been where Robin Williams and so many more are today because of PTSD and Depression.February 2006 I started my recovery from PTSD and depression and I am still recovering today. So if you or someone you know is having issues with depression please get help, because depression is a disease that will consume you and your loved ones.

  • Bluecardinal

    What I saw in his older year, he had a lot of suppressed resentment, this is the cause of depression. When I look at people, I observe their facial expressions. He didn’t have a sincere happy smile. Your outer appearance is a reflection of your inner spirit, he appeared rough and haggered. I did not see a happy man, and sarcasm is a sure give away of an unhappy person. When people use sarcasm to express themselves they are masking resentment. I remember him when he was young and starred in Mork and Mindy and he was more innocent. As the years went by, his attitude was a disappointment, he had lost that sincere fun loving attitude that came naturally. I think people who commit suicide or attempt, are tired of being used and everyone wanting something from them and it’s the only time people care when they want something. I don’t necessarily believe people go to hell if they commit suicide, god judges people on their intent not their actions. I don’t know what happens, . I have known people who have committed suicide that were well meaning and treated others with respect, but they were bullied and became fed up with the meanness and uncaring they were experiencing or seeing going on around them.The people I have known who committed or attempted suicide I thought they were good people, but their inability to figure out how to handle the hatred spewing from others in life, consumed them. I was sorry to seen them go.

  • Mike_Sr

    Glenn you are absolutely right! I shared similar the other day…

  • thedogwalker

    Enough already with Robin Williams! I liked him as much as everyone else, but he took the easy way out.

  • Rachel L Rondina

    Glenn, you stated you were saved by a friend and an unanswered prayer? No, you were saved by a friend who was sent by God as an answer to your prayer. Don’t ever think God does not answer your prayer. He always answers every prayer. Sometimes the answer is just not what you want to hear so you believe your prayer is unanswered.

  • Brandon Neubert

    I disagree with Glenn on this point, stating that Robin Williams is “free” now. I believe in a life after death but certainly not in cutting this life short.

    Isn’t saying that suicide is liberating encouragement to another contemplating suicide in order to “free” themselves? Heck, if suicide means freedom, then…

    Not the best advice I’ve heard on the subject, Glenn.

  • 2 IT too

    WHY is the WILLIAMS family NOT being given PRIVACY?

    WHY are they themselves participating in ‘SO SHELL’ media?

    WHY are they NOT unto themselves in the BEST sense
    in the face of this event?

    Why, again, is NO ONE discussing the role of PSYCHO—PHARMA
    in these events?

    WHY are we continuing to participate in culture ‘DISS—Troying’
    CAP-stone engineered and deployed ‘POP” culture?

  • Ele Mollenhauer Larson

    In your observation about Noah, the 12 year old, I would beg to differ that he’s NOT ‘alive today because somebody cared’, he’s alive because he possessed the true humility to ASK FOR HELP!! Isn’t that what’s required from us all???

    I have been watching in abject horror, confusion, even soul sickness as Mr. William’s death and all the details have been revealed. I am an alcoholic ‘of the hopeless variety’ that was saved from my ‘Spiritual Malady based upon the maintenance of my Spiritual Condition’. No more and no less. The drunks of my era were no strangers to profound suicidal despair and most were drinking as an attempt to self-medicate. I myself lived in what I call ‘the pit’ and not only did I languish there I decorated my surroundings too!! We know hopeless depression and ‘wanting to die’ all right – but lest AA get a black eye we are given a set of Spiritual tools to overcome ANYthing – any thing any condition. I have often ‘wanted to die’ my ‘conditions’ would lead me to believe I had no alternatives? But I was saved by a mighty God almost 4 decades ago. Pride – the greatest of an alcoholic’s ‘defects of character’ tells us ‘oh….I should this or shouldn’t that….I can’t let ANYone know how I really feel’??? And then we isolate: the alcoholic’s curse, for alone I am doomed. I will die.

    EGO: easing God out. I am eternally grateful that I possess ‘the Wisdom to Know the Difference’. There are no meds for the sickies like me. A Loving Powerful God gave me the Gift of My Sobriety. I was told, as we ALL were that it was one way only. That meant my ‘suicidal ideation’ or not I was to stay right here, for after all, what would be a good enough ‘excuse’ to tell God when I met Him, having just tossed His gift back?? Never came up with one?

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