Anthony Bourdain and the Pursuit of Happiness

Here is what Wikipedia tells us about Anthony Bourdain:

Anthony Michael Bourdain (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018) was an American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition. He was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world by many commentators.

Just this past week Bourdain committed suicide while shooting an episode for his show, “Parts Unknown.”  I had heard of Bourdain before his death but I did not know much about him. Even though I did not follow his career closely it still makes me incredibly sad anytime I hear that someone has committed suicide. One of the things that prompted me to write about his death is that I read on social media people asking questions like this, “Bourdain seemed to have it all. He had wealth, fame, and was able to travel all over the world. Why would someone with so much going for him commit suicide?”

I won’t pretend to know the reasons that led Bourdain to end his life, but what I do know is this, the stuff of this world is not enough to satisfy the human heart. One man who had everything he ever desired came to this sobering conclusion:

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. -Ecclesiastes 2:1

Three thoughts I want to communicate. First, if you are struggling with depression, or if you are contemplating suicide, please get help. Talk to someone. A trusted friend. A pastor. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. I don’t have all the answers but I would be happy to listen to you and encourage you. You can reach me at (856)-904-7092. Or, michaelw@newlifeefree.org.  I have gone through seasons of depression my self and I know it is a bad place to be.

Second, talking to a friend is a great idea, but it is not the final solution. Our souls have been designed to find satisfaction in God alone. An old friend, or an excellent counselor, is not going to be able to heal the pain that you feel in the core of your being. You need to know that God knows all about you and loves you. Not only does he love you he desires to be in a relationship with you. Knowing God will not remove all pain and suffering from your life, but genuine comfort is found when we realize that God is there with us through all of the ups and downs of life.

Third, we need to keep our eyes open all around us for people who are struggling. Be proactive! If someone close to you seems to be down invite them out for a cup of coffee. Ask them how they are doing. Take chances. It’s OK to get in their business because you are doing it out of genuine concern.

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