Friday, January 25, 2008

Heath Ledger: One Story Cut Short

Carmen has my fave post on the death of young actor Heath Ledger (presumably from an accidental drug overdose). It's saturated with the complex aroma that is marked by her intelligence and compassion and godliness.

Here's a taste:

Everyone has a story, and often times knowing that story helps us understand and see each other as we are: people who struggle to love and be loved, to deal with our woundedness and brokenness. And that often touches our own woundedness and brokenness, which gives us a context in which to relate to them. We don't have to agree with them, their choices or opinions. But learning their stories does enable us to love them with the kind of Love we are Loved with—by a God who knows our story and works to invite us into the True Story, a Love Story. For it is as we love others that we invite them into that Story and God's Love—and that is what our lives are all about.

Ultimately, I suppose all this makes me remember how much God loves each of us. I love how William Young puts this in The Shack. In the novel, God continually tells the main character, "I am especially fond of you." Affectingly, God uses the phrase every time he references another person as well. This goes a long way in expanding and deepening my understanding of God's motivations for working to remake and bring life to this broken world, which includes each and every one of us: "For God so loved the world . . ." (John 3:16). And that kind of love is too much to keep to ourselves. In fact, if we really get that love, it will spill out on the world around us.

I just read again Paul's urging to followers of Jesus in Philippi to "not only love much but well" (1:9 Message). He describes love as an active, persistent, focused action that ends up "making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God" (11). That's the kind of love I eventually get to in all this. Ledger will eventually fade from the news and the thoughts of most of us who did not know him, but for his family, friends and little girl, his life and death will remain a large part of their lives. That is how it is with many of us—and many of those we rub shoulders with every day. Ledger's death calls me to remember this, to pay attention, listen to their stories, consider the worlds they've lost and especially love them. That is the love that I have received. That is the love I want to give.

I liked Ledger. He had presence, talent, a great voice, and a masculine sexiness that made you take him seriously onscreen. And I have been eager to see his Joker. When I heard the news of his death, my first thought was for his little girl. I was an unabashed Daddy's Girl, so I felt very sad that she wouldn't have years and years of happy memories of her dad loving her. My eldest sis never knew her dad. All she has is one portrait of him. No voice recording. No film or video. At least Ledger's child can hear his voice and see how he moved, his mannerisms, in the photos and videos and films he left behind.

I won't even get into the hair-raising idiocies and cruelties that have erupted from some really whack corners. I suppose even good people can say really stupid, careless things. (Well, yeah, I have.) A bit of mercy is rarely out of place. Even for fools who need a thump on the head.

I would also say that if you live with someone taking medication or having issues like Heath's (ie, stress and sleep problems), take extra care to see that they are taking doses properly. I take oodles of drugs, and I sometimes turn down new ones just cause it can get crazy keeping track of "did I take that?" I have a good system, but in the (way) past, either out of frustration that something wasn't working or because I was very tired or affected and didn't keep track, I have taken double doses. The worst that happened was a horrible case of gastritis that taught me a hard lesson, but I didn't die. It's really good NOT to drop dead from a medication oopsie or dumb double-dosing. I count my blessings, especially this week.

And if you don't know what your spouse or children, etc, are taking, maybe it's time to get informed?


heather a. goodman said...

Wow, you're right. That is a good tribute--not just to Ledger but to humanity, to God's love of humanity and the Church's responsibility.

Carmen Andres said...

oh, mir, i really did miss you!