O Captain, My Captain


There are a few times in my life when I have been completely blown away by love. Unconditional, true, raw, complete love.

When I married my gorgeous wife Lisa.

When I saw Max for the first time.

When I had to say goodbye to my Mom.

Another one of those times was this summer on our annual SH Mission Trip. We make the trek to Lakewood, NJ with 82 teenagers and 26 adults to serve with an organization called A Future With Hope. This trip has become a cornerstone for our youth ministry programs at Avon Lake U.C.C. and an adventure that seems to get better and better every single year.

Every evening we gather for a time of worship and one of our adult leaders shares a message with the group. On one particularly long day, filled with some behind the scenes Semper Gumby moments, I was looking forward to our time of worship. In the middle of worship I had to take a phone call to put out some “fires” and when I returned my good friend Bracken had been speaking and called me to the front. At that point he asked everyone to stand on their chairs and repeat after him. Truthfully I remember them starting out by saying “O Captain, our Captain….” and that’s when I simply stopped and looked around the room at all the love being shown to me and was so deeply humbled by their gratitude and appreciation for…..me.

I was deeply saddened to learn of Robin Williams death and his apparent suicide. Many will question how a man with so much and a man who shared so much joy and laughter could ever take his own life. The truth is depression is an ugly animal. Depression can completely suck the will and mojo out of the strongest people in the world.

The only cure for all of this sadness is Love. Lots of it. Not the kind that comes with regulations or stipulations. I am talking pure, unfiltered, radical love.

In one of my favorite movies of all time Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating is honored by his students when they all get up on their desks after he is fired from his teaching job and say “O Captain, My Captain”. We need to stand on metaphorical desks for the people in our lives and let them know that they are loved. We need to make that phone call, send that text, write that email, we need to spend time listening to their cries for help. We need to say “I love you” to the people we love.

Carpe Diem. Don’t wait for your ship to come in, you’ll miss your boat. Seize the day. This day. The day that the Lord has made.

Robin Williams will be remembered as one of the most brilliant talents of our time. What will his legacy be?

That we get real about depression & mental illness.                                   That not one more person takes their life because of this pain.        That love wins. All the time.

Help a loved one. A fried. Or Yourself. 1.800.273.TALK


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