RIP Anthony Bourdain

On the morning of June 8, 2018 I read the sad news of the passing of Anthony Bourdain. I had watched his shows several times, but certainly not an avid watcher–usually when nothing else was on I found his show interesting. Bourdain was interesting because of his ability to tell stories and educate the viewer as well as his ability to assimilate into whatever environment he was in. The opening episode this season was a visit to Southern West Virginia, just an hour or so south of where I grew up near Charleston. The opening scene was an aerial view of New York City and his comments were that he had grown up there and it was easy to think “this is what the rest of America looks like.” Then he went on to show the heart and soul of Appalachia and what the people who are often viewed as uneducated, poor, and stubborn, are really like. Welcoming, helpful, loving, caring, God-fearing–and fabulous cooks. I’m sure many people feel like this about their home, but there really is no more comfortable place than what we call home. Home is the people around you, not just a location. His documentary on Southern West Virginia was so good that if I ever was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Bourdain I would have thanked him for this one episode.

Bourdain’s life was lost to suicide which many people do not understand.  How can someone who is so famous and successful do this to themselves?  Fame and fortune does not make one happy.  Those things you buy might give you a short-lived excitement and release of dopamine in the brain but once that’s gone, you just have a “thing” and not happiness.  Many people sit back and say “If I had his money {fill in the blank}” and cannot understand why someone would take their own life.  Those same people who say that are usually already richer than they know.  So many people have 100% of everything they need and most of what they want.  Someone with so much fame usually has everything they want, but not everything they need.  When you have everything you want, but not everything you need the thought that comes to one’s mind is, “Is this all there is to life?  If so, why do I even exist?”  Sometimes there are other triggers that spawn depression and inner struggles, but I think for anyone who hasn’t experienced the sadness and depression that can happen to people who have what they want but do not have what they need, it’s a difficult understanding.  Just remember, when you see someone who has a lot of “things” it doesn’t mean they have everything they need.

Suicide is a very selfish act.  The thought process is so self absorbed that they often think those people around them are better off without them in the picture.  They consider themselves a burden.  In reality it takes the burdens one carries and redistributes those burdens to everyone around them.  It ends their pain and starts the pain for others that lasts the rest of their lives.  The difference between someone who can commit suicide and the many who think about it but do not do it is that they reach a point where they care less about the people around them than they care about themselves, which is a pretty low feeling.  It is indeed a selfish act.  We cannot rush to judge anyone for anything.  It’s God’s job to make those judgments, not ours.

We all have things we need beyond the things we want in life.  Mr. Bourdain, may God have mercy on your soul and you be given the things you needed in this life and were not able to have.  And thank you for the episode showcasing Southern West Virginia.

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