Tag Archives: robin williams

A Deafening Silence

13 Aug

Silence can be deafening.

It can fill a whole room, a whole body, a whole heart.

It’s a lonely, depressing ache that goes on and on.  How I wish for the breath to say something, to find words, to hear my voice.

The silence is emptiness and emptiness is deadly, dark and meaningless.

Silence, for me, was a way of coping.  As long as I remained quiet, as long as I pretended I had it all together, then maybe I would be OK.  Or at least people would think I was OK.

But I wasn’t OK.  I was falling apart.

My secrets ripped me apart, caused me to hide in the shadows, and question my existence.  Did I deserve to take up space, resources, air?  The thoughts were loud and angry.  The train whistle cut through the silence several times a day.  There was life somewhere outside of my apartment.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Robin Williams, who has the resources to access the best doctors, best medicines, and best therapy could fall into the deafening silence.  There’s a cruel irony in entertaining the masses, yet dying inside.  Tears of a clown or something like that.

Those of us who have been there or are there or live with constant battle against the darkness know what it’s like.  The silence only makes the illness more pronounced because the angry thoughts swirl around, the clichés become tormenting (“Why don’t you…?” “Someone has it worse.” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “Trust in the Lord”), and it’s a sad, lonely place.

If someone like Robin Williams couldn’t make it through the pestilence of mental illness, specifically depression, what hope is there for the rest of us?  We swallow our pills, see our therapists, practice using our coping skills, and hope against hope we’ll make it.

We hope and pray that we won’t end up like Robin Williams all the while wondering if we will.

There’s a choice in suicide.  There’s always a choice.  It’s just hard to make sense of what’s up and what’s down in mental illness, which doesn’t make sense at all.  Yet everyone seems to have an opinion on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so forth.  Just like week someone told me I couldn’t possibly have PTSD because I’ve never been in combat.  Oh, yes, I’ve seen combat, just not in the military.  The world is its own battlefield.

The reason why I’m alive, the reason why I didn’t tighten the noose around my neck or jump in front of that train was this—hope.  No matter how small, God placed that hope in my heart when I was a little girl.  Though I had run away, battered and bruised from the Church, His hope kept me alive.

It may sound overly simplistic, but maybe it is that simple.  Maybe hope really is an anchor to my soul—an anchor firmly rooted in Christ Himself.  Christ died every possible death so that I could live.  Through the brokenness of my life, He shines forth.  Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks.

Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks the words of hope I desperately need to hear.  His soft whisper drowns out the angry thoughts.  His truth slices through well-intentioned, but ill-timed clichés.

In a world that judges, God accepts me just as I am and uses me despite my weakness.  Because of God, I have meaning and I don’t have to be silent anymore.  I can speak out of my weakness because He has made me a display of splendor.

In the deafening silence, His sure whisper can be heard.  Perhaps it’s in silence, God can be best heard.

I Rented August Rush (movie review)

10 Jul

augustrushBy Amy Sondova While August Rush is definitely a cool name for a musician, it’s a terrible movie. Maybe I’m just not into feel-good films that have a limited grasp on reality unless they’re in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I’m not sure how to classify August Rush except to reemphasize the fact it wasted two hours of my life.

The plot revolves around Evan Taylor (Freddie Highmore), an abandoned 11-year-old boy who has lived in an orphanage in New York his entire life. He hears music in the world around him and believes that his parents are going to come fetch him up one day. Everyone he meets thinks his idealism is crazy, but are impressed with his natural musical ability. In fact, he’s some sort of musical prodigy composing his first piece of music only minutes after learning how to read notes.

Understandably, there are kids who will take to music like a fish to water. However, I doubt a kid who just plucks on a guitar for a couple of hours is going to sound like Carlos Santana shortly thereafter. The story gets more and more ridiculous as it goes along. Evan changes his name to August Rush under the direction of Wizard (Robin Williams), a bitter hoodlum who takes in runaway children and exploits their musical talents to make a buck.

Throughout the movie, August says that he must play his music so his parents can find him. Ironically, his parents are both musicians—Lyla, (Keri Russell), the classically-trained cellist and Louis, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the Scottish rocker. One starry night, Lyla and Louis meet, procreate, and are parted. After getting hit by a car, Lyla delivers early and without her knowledge, her father forges her signature, signing away her parental rights. Her father confesses his sin on his deathbed causing Lyla to search for her son 11 years later. Meanwhile, Louis, (who doesn’t know he has a son), can’t forget about Lyla and decides to make contact with her after 11 years. In a bizarre twist of events, music brings them all together and a family that was torn asunder is reunited.

I know I should just suspend my disbelief, but I can’t. I can’t get past the fact that Lyla would have needed a witness to watch her sign her baby away and that there haven’t been orphanages in the United States for over 30 years. A baby put up for adoption has a great chance of being adopted, not institutionalized. Not only that, but Lyla would never be able to extract the information about Evan’s whereabouts from his children and youth caseworker. If the plot is this shaky from the beginning, how are we supposed to believe that Louis loves Lyla after a one-night stand? How can we accept that August is really that talented?

If you want to see more of Keri Russell, rent Season 2 of Felicity. Watching her navigate through the perils of college life is much better than trying to understand this messy plot.

Print copy of review.

Idol Gives Back Recap

10 Apr

If like me, you found yourself wasting two and a half hours watching mind-numbing entertainment tonight, you just may have been tuned in to Fox’s “American Idol: Idol Gives Back”. To be fair, it was probably a total of half an hour of entertainment, an hour of in-house ads about charitable orgs and celebrities telling us to call 1-866-IDOL-SOMETHING, and at least an hour of commercials. Man, there were a lot of commercial breaks, usually preceded by Ellen DeGeneres or Whoopi Goldberg or a famous sports guy urging the audience to give money.

Miley Cyrus and Billy Crystal did this cute little comedy thing, followed by Miley belting out a song. Later in the evening, Miley gave another performance, which would have made Hannah Montana blush. I mean, seriously, she’s a 15 year-old kid who can’t even legally drive in my state and she’s gyrating like a maniac on stage. Then there was Fergie, who was wearing so much eye make-up looked like she was punched in both eyes. She sang with Heart, and they were uncomfortably close while singing. It made me feel uncomfortable. About how as uncomfortable as Simon Cowell must’ve felt when Robin Williams squeezed his butt cheeks (if you didn’t watch the show, I’m sure you are thoroughly confused by now).

I think last year’s show was better–it was funnier (probably because it was co-hosted by Ellen DeGeneres), more dazzling, and less, well, annoying. I mean, I get that we need to give back, donate tons of money, and stop being so selfish. Yet are the only places in the world suffering from poverty and misfortune New Orleans and the continent of Africa? If you watched “Idol Gives Back”, you might think so (of course, Simon Cowell did visit NYC and Miley & Billy Ray went to Kentucky).


But…my goodness, how many celebrities had to go to Africa to drive the message home? Bono (who I respect), Annie Lennox, Daughtry, Forest Whitaker & wife, Alicia Keys. I found Alicia Keys exceptionally annoying wearing an expensive-looking outfit, complete with her hair extensions, telling me to give money. Seriously, don’t these people know what to wear when going to visit the down and out? I had to give props to Reese Witherspoon, who had her hair tied back in a ponytail and wore a simple outfit for her trip to New Orleans. Reese, as always, was excellent. I was also especially touched by Annie Lennox and the ever-wonderful Simon Cowell.

Ironically, it was Simon, who makes $40 million a year who asked people to give “if” they could. How is it that one of the richest guys on the show “gets it”? I really do love Simon Cowell, even if some vulgar comedians accused him of having “man boobs”.

The strangest part of the evening was the finale in which the “Top 8” sang “Shout to the Lord” with a choir of some sort. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I mean, I’ve sung “Shout to the Lord” many a’times in church…and there it was on a show called “American Idol”. Bizarre, and yet I feel like God was glorified and praised in the midst of it.

Anyway, I wanted to call and give a few bucks because I thought I might get a chance to talk to Brooke White or David Cook, but I didn’t call. I did vote for Brooke like 200 times last night. I hope she appreciates it. I figured David would slide through so he didn’t need my votes.

I’ll put my money in the jar I keep ’round the house called “The Giving Jar”. I put loose change or random money in there, and once I get $50, I’m going to send the money to an organization like International Justice Mission or Christian Freedom International or Blood: Water Mission…or maybe I’ll just give it to the local soup kitchen down the street.

Here’s an amusing summary of “Idol Gives Back” and Micheal Johns’ elimination–this woman is briliant, so read her column, except about Michael Johns.  I really wasn’t into him, probably because of his wife.

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