Robin Williams and the Context of Life

by Mark Votava


Context gives us a place to practice our spirituality.  This has been foreign to me for many years, but I am coming to a deeper understanding of this.  It seems like there is no context for the local church to exist without a rootedness in a particular place.  Yes, the church is universal but it is also manifested in a particular local context.

  • Losing sight of the meaning of life 

I have become lost when I forget to practice, incarnate or enflesh my experience of God in the particular of everyday life with others.  When I lose sight of the “we,” I have lost the meaning of life.  I struggle to have anything to offer when my true self is not allowed to live within me.

  • The thing that matters are others, way beyond yourself 

I recently saw an interview with Robin William who died this week after struggling with addiction and depression.  He said in the interview:

“The thing that matters are others, way beyond yourself…  You realize there are a lot of amazing people out there to be grateful for and a loving God.  Other than that, good luck.  That’s what life is about.”

  • Stop complaining and start dreaming 

This way of life is my redemption.  I will stop complaining about the church and start dreaming.  What can she become?

  • My dreams for the church

My dreams for the church consume me.  They guide my life.  They create my identity.  They cause me to listen.

  • The world needs love 

My dreams for the church live inside of me.  I know the world needs love and it is the church’s call to be an expression of love.  I want love to help me find a way of life that is beautiful, authentic and good.

  • Listening to our faithful presence 

Intentionality about listening to our faithful presence in the parish cannot be stressed enough.  I am convinced that this could bring a sense of transformation within our local communities.  We could learn to become wounded dreamers who do not give up.

  • Working out our salvation 

In my book The Communal Imagination I write, “This intentionality is to be lived out within the context of the parish through our love.  As we love, we begin to understand Christ more and more.  There is the power of Christ’s resurrection within us, a sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings, and we become more like him through the process of love.  Having an intentional love for others sets this all in motion.  It is the working out of our salvation…”

  • Never stop dreaming 

I say dream!  Dream with everything you are.  Dream with everything you’ve got.  Never stop dreaming no matter what difficulties life brings.

What is your favorite Robin Williams movie and how did it touch your life?