A wave of sorrow swept the world this week, as our news outlets and social media timelines were filled with one gut-punching headline: Kate Spade, beloved fashion designer known for her bright and whimsical designs, committed suicide by hanging on Tuesday morning in her Manhattan home. Like everyone else, I found myself in complete shock.
Amidst all of the positive slogans and bright colors her work displayed, Kate apparently found herself despondent, hopeless and ultimately, willing to take her own life — the life that so many others around the globe envied. Kate was only 55 years old, and she leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter, Francis Beatrix Spade, and her husband, Andrew. One fashion reporter who knew Kate personally said: "I will never know the source of her sorrow. But how heartbreaking and unfortunate that the joy, pride, and delight this insightful designer brought millions of women wasn't enough to invoke a smile that went deeper than brilliant branding strategy."
Kate's death follows other well-known designers who have tragically taken their own lives in the same way. L'Wren Scott in March 2014, and British designer Alexander McQueen four years earlier. In just the last year, musician Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and Soundgarden's lead singer also committed suicide by hanging. Comedian Robin Williams did the same. It's all so devastatingly sad.
Fashion is all about how you look on the outside, but regardless of how put together one may present themselves, it does not change who they are on the inside. Everyone — and I mean everyone — rock stars, movie stars, fashion designers and everyday people like you and me all have a few things in common:
We are all empty.
We are all lonely.
We are all seeking meaning and purpose in life.
Former teen Heartthrob David Cassidy died earlier this year. Throughout his life, he struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He said he had given it up, but unfortunately that just wasn't the case.
"The fact is that I lied about my drinking," he said. "I did this to myself to cover up the sadness and the emptiness."
Famous people aren't exempt from sadness, loneliness and emptiness. They are human, just like us. The only difference is they just happen to have the money, fame and luxurious lifestyles many dream of having — except they get to experience firsthand just how empty it all is.
A doctor named Robin Smith wrote a book called "Hungry: The Truth about being Full," and in it she writes about those who feel an emptiness in their lives after experiencing success. She calls it being "hungry for the high note." She goes on to write about the early deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. "People say that drugs killed them. Drugs didn't Kill them. What killed them is they were striving and hungry. They were striving to 'Hit the high note again.'"
We have heard the expression, "There is nothing new under the sun." That phrase was given by King Solomon, who went on a binge to personally experience every pleasure this world had to offer. Solomon lived in a luxurious palace, with servants, expansive gardens and everything a King of his day could ever desire. He had women at his beck and call and more wine that a man could drink in a lifetime. He had it all, and yet...he had nothing. Wise old King Solomon summed it up this way: "Everything is meaningless!"(Ecc.1:2) The word for meaningless that Solomon used can be translated as emptiness, futility, meaninglessness, nothingness or simply a "bubble that bursts."
That is where God comes in. King Solomon, who had been raised with faith, abandoned it for a good part of his life. After realizing the world had nothing good to offer him, he returned to the Lord in the end.
My wife likes to put puzzles together. I have no idea why, but she will work meticulously, placing every puzzle piece in its proper place until it's completed. The other day, she had almost finished the puzzle but one piece suddenly went missing. We both got down on our hands and knees, searching tirelessly for that one missing piece. We finally found it, and completed her puzzle.
Life can be that way too.
We think we have all the things we want to make us happy and yet we find ourselves like these celebrities we mentioned earlier: searching, sad, empty, lonely and, ultimately, unfulfilled with the lives we are living.
The Bible is full of broken, lonely, heartbroken people, but it is also full of hope, love and the message of Jesus Christ. I believe that through a relationship with Him, you can find peace, comfort, contentment and an abundant life. If you are feeling despondent enough to take your own life, please reach out for help. And don't forget to reach up to God. He has the missing piece you are looking for. I'll be talking more about how you can have a relationship with God this Sunday, June 10, in Dallas and I'd love for you to join me.