I sincerely appreciated the humility, sincerity, transparency, and curiosity of Anthony Bourdain. He was an incredible communicator and story teller, which allowed him to connect with vast groups of people he touched around the world. Although I did not agree with his spiritual views, I had much admiration for his work, I loved his shows and books. I grieve his death and pray for his family. He will be missed.
The death of Anthony Bourdain is yet another example that power, fame and money will not fulfill a human being. In fact it can create further isolation which people are not created to withstand. I can see how Tony could end up in the terrible state he did, and it saddens me.
Over the past several years I’ve had my own darkness, struggles, depression, challenges, questions and frustrations as I navigate mid life. We all have these periods, whether we admit it or not. Face it or not, It’s simply part of the journey of life.
I am so tired of how social media has refined and expanded the proliferation of the “American Dream” over the past 15 years, that it has defined the objectives and the target for multiple generations. Life is not about your accomplishments, your money, or your network. It is about your relationships. For me, that begins with Jesus but it doesn’t end there, it extends to family, friends, acquaintances and the like. Jesus being at the center certainly didn’t make me impervious to life getting a little wacky for a while.
We are not designed to be islands. Jesus, who was “the Word made flesh” still needed people to shore him up at times. If Jesus needed people in difficult times, why should I think I need to be Superman and navigate life without some key friends for those times of need?
What all people need are relationships where we have mutual trust and can be transparent. Where we are proactively pursuing others, to be with them in their pain and struggles. Don’t wait for people to reach out to you for help in time of need, it’s difficult when you are in a dark place to do that, be proactive in your relationships. Make a routine out of ensuring the health of those people in your world. It will make it easier for them to lay down their armor and talk when things are tough.
I am eternally grateful and thankful for the two fellas that pursued me and extended friendship. Not because of what I could do for them, not to talk about surface things, but to ensure I am healthy, simply because they love me. They were were willing to spend time, get their hands dirty, and help me navigate difficult waters. It was love in action. In many ways their loving kindness helped to restore, clarify, and strengthen my life and propel me forward. I am forever grateful.
However, in the challenging times when we are hurting. we must all be willing to be vulnerable. That’s not a sign of weakness it’s a sign of being human in a challenging world. It actually takes strength to say “I don’t have it all figured out, can you help me”.
As I move through life, I look to express love in the same way by recognizing those random scary times in others lives and getting into their difficulty in times of need. Those stories won’t show up on an Instagram feed and the impact cannot ever be quantified, it’s just what we are supposed to do for others. It’s called love.
When I think about Jesus modeling a life of love. I see him weaving a tapestry of random and often confidential acts of love. In one passage, he feeds people, then teaches people about faith after rescuing them, then delivers a man from mental oppression. It was not a lifestyle that we can measure, package and then promote on social media. It was the dispensation of love as he navigated his life.
Furthermore to all of my Christian friends out there “the Word is not enough.” Jesus was the Word made flesh and he still needed people! He needed their love and companionship expressed towards him in times of darkness. He exampled humility when he reached out for his friends companionship for strength.
I have friends who are Christian and non-Christian alike. Those who are Christian will face the same struggles that non Christians face, in their marriage, raising kids, careers, personal insecurities, dreams and values, it is part of the human condition. Prepare for it by building relationships with people you can trust and that you can choose to be transparent with.
My non-Christian friends are worthy of my time and attention, love and care just like my Christian friends, just because they are people and I love them not because of their current status of spiritual belief.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. That kind of love expressed through relationship will keep all of us healthy. That kind of love never fails. I wish Anthony Bourdain would have experienced this love form us.