The Value of a Life

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I have never been a Heath Ledger fan, per se. But news of his death last week has sat very heavy with me. Why, I wonder? Is it because he was my age (just 8 days younger than I)? Or was it his fame, the way that Hollywood and the media industry can project the details of a single solitary life into the very minds, hearts, and homes of a nation? We all somehow ‘knew’ him.

And now, now that he is gone, I am contemplating the new reality that there is and will remain a void.

“I think he is a real loss as a persona and a talent,” lamented actor John Travolta. There will never be another actor that can replace Heath on the big screen. I am not speaking only of his talent, although he was gifted. I speak of his uniqueness as a person. There will never be another who performs just exactly as he did – not with the same emotion, viewpoint, interpretation of a script, a character.

But the greater void will exist in the lives of his family. He held a unique place in the soul of those who called him their son, their brother, their nephew, and oh, yes, their ‘daddy’. No other man on the earth will fit this description to these people in the same way that he did. Ever.

Heath was One Of A Kind. Great intentionality marked his creation. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Individual lives are the expression of a pre-existing idea in the mind of God.” His Creator went to great lengths to design and craft a man with his temperament, his physical makeup, his gifts and talents, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, capacity for humor, life, relationships, fatherhood. Even the sound of his voice and the print of his finger. All of this was 100% unique to Heath Ledger.

There will never ever be another him on this earth again. Never in the history or future of the world. And for this, there is mourning.

Recently in the news, a babysitter was charged with the death of a 19-month-old. She was playfully–yet carelessly–swinging him around, when she hit his head on the doorframe. His little life was ended, like that. All too easily is this magnificent breath of life taken.

The autopsy results of Heath are inconclusive so far, but there are signs that this was quite possibly an accidental death. With all of the intentionality God invested into his existence, I am astounded at how fragile his life really was. And ours is. Too many sleeping pills paired with pneumonia or a weakened physical or mental state or whatever! (This is all speculation and none have been confirmed.) It turns out that a 28-year-old healthy male is, after all, a delicate species. The flame of his life can be snuffed out by the slightest accident? Oh, how humbling.

Heath Ledger was one of a kind. And so am I. There will never be another man to take his place. And no one can take yours.

“I would give back all my awards and all my nominations just to have him back.” — John Travolta (Source: Woman’s Day).

Infinitely valuable. Fragile. Intentional. This is our life, too.

1 Comment


February 1, 2008 at 2:40 am

we are such best friends! I was heavy when I heard about Heath Ledger’s death, too. Not sure why exactly. Yet you captured it so well in this post — the value of a life. And I do think it had something to do with him being born our exact year, 1979. Great first post, girl!