Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Howard Hughes & Hope

I just finished watching this incredible movie The Aviator, staring Leonardo DiCaprio. This award winning movie is based on Howard Hughes, infamous for his wealth, movies, and contribution to the world of aviation. As with most DVD’s I loved the special features that go into much more detail about the life and the man of Howard Hughes and his contributions to our world.

To say the least, the man was brilliant. The world today still uses many of his innovations and inventions to make the lives of those living on the planet more comfortable. I never realized the numerous contributions Hughes made and the genius that drove him. The Aviator, if anything was an eye opening experience that saddened me and in many ways helped me think about the concept of hope that comes from salvation.

Mental Illness is a horrible disease when not treated or not recognized. Likely you can see that in no one more than you can the person of Howard Hughes who suffered from the disease called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The disease, while showing symptoms early in life, became more prominent later in his life. It ended up driving him into seclusion and a world of paranoia that few of us can imagine. While the movie focuses in part on this, we never actually see the movie go to the point teh disease eventually did in Hughes life. As I watched the dissolve of this incredible man on screen, I couldn’t help but hurt for him, and be saddened by the complexity of this disease and the harm it brought him.

One of the reasons I felt this way while watching the movie is the appreciation I felt for the man Howard Hughes. Many have scoffed at his instability in his later years, while never fully giving credit to the wonderful work he did in life, or the sacrifices he personally went through in order to obtain the things he did. There were many times in life that he was willing to put his entire savings and life on the line in order to go for a dream, and to make a better world. There was something about the things he was doing that gave him inspiration and hope, something that enabled him to go beyond the typical to accomplish the impossible.

I know, it is true, Hughes had the issues of Mental Illness that drove him to the point of total isolation and paranoia, truth is that at the time he lived, there was no diagnosis for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was seen as being eccentric by those around him and his foes. It is sad because he didn’t seem to have the ultimate hope or the ultimate solution that could have helped him overcome the disease. Of course, he didn’t have the medications needed and the treatment that is so effective today for individuals with OCD. It is one of the things that for me made the movie so sad.

This morning, as I wake up, and still reflect on the movie, I couldn’t help but think of many friends over the years who suffered from some form of depression, paranoia, or whatever condition that took away their hope. Many of those are no longer here due to a drug overdose, a suicide, or some other event that caused their life to end. The horror and difficulty of hearing about the loss of a loved one under these types of conditions is difficult to deal with. The truth is, the heartache, the confusion, the questions never really go away for those left behind. Yes it is true, sometimes life sucks, but I will tell you, that when a loved one passes on via suicide or escape mechanism like an overdose, the heartache and difficulty never leaves those left behind.

One of the things that makes this so difficult is that all of us see some Howard Hughes in the lives of those we love. It may not be the billions of dollars or massive wealth, but it might be that glimmer of brilliance in an area that few others possess. For me, Steve Hunn was a guy I could talk with and spend time with, he was a true friend. Stann Hamm was a young man who was the finest slide guitar player I ever knew. Larry Smith had this incredible smile and at times, love for God that was unequaled by anyone I ever met. I could unfortunately go on and on.

In my own life, I have told the story where I attempted suicide early on in my life. I have shared that story before so many. It was early on in my Christian faith and the decision came around the hurt involved in the breakup of a girlfriend. I still bare scars on my body from that attempt some 25+ years ago now. Those scars will be with me for the rest of my life, I think as a reminder of the work that God did in my life. Thank God I had a friend who would listen and help me, thank God I wasn’t successful in the three attempts on my life that took place over a 24 hour period. I say that, because, despite the times of depression, the times where I thought it would all be better if it ended, I have come to realize my hope in Christ is bigger and better than any difficulties I face on earth.

There are many scriptures that deal with hope. I would encourage anyone suffering from the lack of hope to visit, http://www.biblegateway.com/ go to the keyword search of your favorite translation and type in the word hope, then, read away. You will find many passages that will instruct you on having hope, and of how to increase and improve your hope.

Just one of many that I looked at this morning comes from Romans 15, verses, 3 – 5 – (3) Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, "The people who insulted you also insulted me." (4) And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. (5) God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ.

I can see numerous things from this passage, first Christ was insulted, and hurt by others and their insults. I can relate to Christ when I am hurting and having difficulty. I can also look and see from this passage, there is teaching and encouragement in Scripture that will give me hope when things don’t seem to be going positively. From this teaching, encouragement, and hope, God is able to give us a patience and attitude that enables us to carry on, even being happy.

I have found this, and the many other scriptures that deal with hope to be true. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that in the lives of some people, other factors came into play that could have been addressed by not only scripture but also by the wisdom that God has given humanity. God has given wisdom to enable appropriate counsel, and wisdom to create medications, to perform miracles. I am convinced that if Howard Hughes had lived today instead of the time he did, he would not have suffered to the extent he did because medications have come about that would have controlled his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There are others I know, even among those mentioned above, that had medications and helps available to them, yet, they refused to access those helps. It is unfortunate, because if they would have, they would still be around.

In closing today, if getting down on yourself, remember there are people who care. There are people who are willing to try and help you. You can make a difference, in your own God given way you are just as brilliant as the person of Howard Hughes. God made you uniquely and beautifully, complete with a purpose and potential. There is hope, hope in the one who gave the gifts, hope in one who gave the life. When times are tough, we could all do well to remember these next verses.

Ephesians 1: 17-20 – (17) I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. (18) My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God's people.

(19) I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used (20) when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven.

To become more a part of The Virtual Pew, visit, http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ To learn more about me visit http://www.furches.org/ I am also active on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/mikefurches I have another blog at http://blog.myspace.com/mikefurches To visit the Hollywood Jesus group at MySpace with membership by numerous Hollywood Jesus reviewers visit: http://groups.myspace.com/hollywoodjesus You can contact me via email at mike@furches.org or mike@thevirtualpew.com For those interested in knowing more about my own story, contact me for a free e-copy of my book The Keystone Kid in pre-edit form.

No comments: