Tears of a clown

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Songs have been written about them and stories told, but when we see the deadly fallout of a much-loved clown’s world as it comes crashing down, we are often driven to introspection. Is there someone in our own life who laughs so loudly we miss the pain?

Do we in our pride and self-sufficiency fail to let others see inside our own sorrows? Does the stiff upper lip mentality that serves us to a point hinder our ability to let others truly know who we are? Are we strong enough to let others see our weakness, thus giving them hope to fight another day?

Some of the people who have impacted my life the most were those who let me gaze into their hearts. They shared their stories. They shared the stories that didn’t necessarily make them look good but made them look real. They told of their joys and sorrows. By hearing their stories I learned to take off the mask and be real myself.

We all need each other. We all need people who care. We all need to love our neighbors and ourselves. Whether we know it or not, we all need to reach out and share our own stories with others. Sharing brings healing.

Several years ago my husband died of cancer. I tried to look at all our happy years spent together and push the pain into the background. I put a smile on my face and moved forward, only to be overwhelmed over and over with grief and sorrow at the most inopportune times.

Finally, I went to a group called Grief Share. What we did was simple and phenomenal. We shared our grief and cried together. Crying is not something I like to do, but with each tear some of the pain flowed from my heart, and healing began.

Yes, our much-loved Robin Williams brings these thoughts to mind. His life and untimely death cause me to take stock of my own decisions and question anew what is important.

The answer for me is simple: people — my people, your people, the good, the bad and the ugly people. We really do need each other. I have to wonder what would happen if we all simply decided to be kind to one another?

I think I will run for president with one plank on my platform. Kindness. Let’s all spread kindness in any form we can, as often as we can. The answers to life’s questions are usually not difficult; in our vast wisdom we make them difficult.

We can spend all of our time discussing and focusing on the world’s problems while becoming more and more distant and distracted, or we can simply decide to change our little corner of the world. Ask yourself, what small kindness can I show to someone today? Then do it.

What if we all decided to let kindness guide our speech and actions? Whose life might be changed? Could it be our own?

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.