I come from a generation that enjoyed ‘By The Fire Side’, Maame ne Paapa and hibiscus-flavored sand meals cooked in empty tin tomato cans by the cute neighbor you were crushing on and hence had to literally eat sand and say “Taassssttyyy.” Captain Planet, Yoggi Bear, Bob TV and Gummy Bears are nostalgic landmarks to us, and Mrs. Doubtfire is right up there with them. If the first time you watched Mrs. Doubtfire was on colored television then you belong to the d-bee/adjebotta demographic the rest of us concocted lame reasons (like “I’m going for spare pencil”) to visit.
But Mrs. Doubtfire –like Home Alone- was a special movie. We weren’t old enough to dream of Visa Lotteries and our cunning relatives in London kept promising ‘Oo next year okay? Next year.” . We are still waiting. So the movie was a welcome window into a beautiful Western lifestyle of nannies, rich happy families on vacations and la dolce vita.
In the process of loving the film, we fell in love with Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams). Robin had enough humor and smiles to transform a memorial service into a sitcom episode. Every time we met (on TV), I knew I was about to have an enjoyable time. Childishly, I never paused to think he had weaknesses, gloomy moods or a care in this world. So hearing about his demise was a ‘wait a minute!’ moment for me.
His passing has elicited countless tributes and something else I’ve been contemplating for weeks now; empty happy people. We all suffer from the ‘This millionaire doesn’t need my dollar’ syndrome. We feel our gifts will be insignificant to our wealthy boss or our compliment will be unnecessary to this popular person. Truth is, there are countless empty happy people walking around. A smile is just lips curved upwards, it’s not good enough an indicator of what’s happening inside a person. We should never let the thought that a kind word may be needless and soon forgotten keep us from saying them.
People send e-mails that begin with “I know you get this a lot, but ……” I reply and say “Who told you? It’s sweet for me papa that you’ve written…” Sometimes the person you feel is least in need of your encouragement or joke is the one who needs it the most. Never hold back a kind gesture, no matter how unnecessary it looks.
The Other Side of The Coin
On the flip side, I’ve heard many people ask “But what could have made Robin Williams take his own life?”. The guy was an A-list actor, Hollywood star, influential and rich. There are people in Ghana who will trade their mothers for a fraction of Robin’s status. We live under the illusion that our fulfillment resides in a certain lifestyle. We chase statuses and money as if they’re the universal repellants to every negative thing. After decades of pursuing and getting them, we become overwhelmed with the disappointment that those things aren’t enough.
If our quest for the perks of life isn’t driven by the right motivations, we’ll pay outrageous prices (en route)which will steal the joy we’d originally imagined those things will bring us.
You were born with a big round hole that grows bigger as you grow older. Money, affirmation, fame, being wanted, success, flamboyance, bespoke kaftans, fancy nails and hairdos –they’re all tiny triangle, square and oval pegs. All of them put together just cant fit that round hole in you. That hole is the God hole. We can immerse ourselves in the politics of intellectualism and explain this need away, but just because the ostrich hides its head in a hole doesn’t mean its entire body is hidden.
My worry isn’t that you doubt I’m right. My worry is that you’ll postpone the necessary actions that agreeing with me comes with. Your mind is immediately flooding with all the other things you need to do “I’ll think of filling my hole with God’s peg later” I hope you get around to it, because there’s no point in making the whole world laugh if you are the joke. You are a joke until your priorities reflect your allegiance to the source of true joy and unstealable peace.
Don’t grow into an empty happy person. Don’t find out when your bank account is full, how poor you are. As you chase your dreams, chase God too. He’s more fun than a night club and more rewarding than a grateful Oil & Gas pay check.
I’m sad that after such a long seemingly-successful life Mrs. Doubtfire put out her own fire. Don’t do same. Please.
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