In 1897, Edwin Robinson wrote a poem called “Richard Cory”. It would later become better known as the Ballad of Richard Cory sung by Simon and Garfunkel. As I read the original poem and read some of the commentaries, I am struck by a familiar chord.
In the poem, there is a man who’s extremely wealthy and greatly admired by everyone; including those in poverty. Richard Cory was not only admired for his wealth, but also his intelligence and his social status. In the Ballad of Richard Cory, the man was the owner of a company town; where everyone works for him.
Richard Cory’s admirers would even go on to say “Oh, to be like Richard Cory!” In the same breath, they would complain about their own circumstances and ignore the good things they do have.
It never dawn on them that Richard Cory may have admired the good things they do have. They never imagined that Richard Cory was empty inside and in deep need. They have placed Richard Cory on a pedestal and assumed that he had no personal needs.
Someone could say “Why doesn’t he say something or be more transparent?” With whom? Everyone in the town was too busy assuming. Even if he could have said something; no one was willing to listen and see clearly the look of pain lurking behind the facade.
One day, it all came to a crashing end. Richard Cory took a gun and shot himself. He died alone. Though Richard Cory had wealth, good physical appearance and possibly a good standing in his church; it was all to no avail.
Richard Cory’s tragedy is twofold. On one level, there was no one to share his life’s struggles, hurts and disappointments or share in his personal joys. He desperately needed real friends to take an interest in him. He needed people to reach out and connect with him; even if it’s just a text message.
The second part of Richard’s tragedy is, “Did he even know Jesus?” Was God ever a real part of Richard Cory’s life. In truth, I strongly feel that both are needed to overcome depression and loneliness.
I say this, more from experience than anything else. It is because of Jesus, I am able to overcome my own bout of loneliness and depression. Jesus has been a true Friend and always will be. He was a Friend; long before becoming Lord and Savior.