Good Night O Captain: Thoughts on Robin Williams

Farewell My Captain

The above link shows a clip from Dead Poets Society, one of many films made by Robin Williams.
I came home today to be surprised by the news of his death, what a weird range of emotions this news has sparked.

I remember in 7th grade Texas History class, mimicking Robin and some of his comedy when the teacher would leave the room. One of my favorites was his portrayal of Mr Rogers.

I remember hanging with my cousins Martha and Raymond every visit watching Robin's comedy on VHS.

I remember seeing Good Morning Vietnam in Lubbock while at Tech and walking away amazed at the talent on such vivid display.

Seeing Robin Williams act wether serious roles, or comedic, performing standup, or reruns of Mork and Mindy, staying up late to watch him crack up Johnny Carson, or hoping to meet him the year I toured with A Tuna Christmas. I was inspired.

I carried a list of questions to ask Mr. Williams in case our paths crossed. It was following Mrs. Doubtfire, a movie that I really resonated with being a divorced father separated from my son, that I came up with the questions. A list of 12 questions about how to deal with creativity, performing, being an actor with children, etc...

I found this list just about a year ago and read through the questions again. I had no other thoughts of them until today.

Today i am a full time minister, not an actor or comedian, yet I still use some of Robin's expressiveness in my sermons and in my teaching style. His wide-open, full speed, rapid fire delivery  and even his calm cool "it's not your fault" delivery from Good Will Hunting finds it's way into myrhythm  and pattern of speech.

So tonight, I simply mourn. Tonight the world has one less voice to exhort us to laughter, to bring us to tears, to make us pause and think, to bring us to our feet in applause.

Tonight My Captain, I long
for one more story or song.

Tonight I wish simply
for your family to feel comfort.

Tonight O Captain,
may you sleep well. Peace.


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