Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life well wasted

Today was suppose to be a great day.  I woke up next to my wife in our new, and cozy, 800 square-foot home.  Lately my home state of Texas has been doing its best impression of Seattle,but the sun was shining today and the warmth was welcomed.  Allison and I spent an inordinate amount of money at Target, the lower-middle class mecca, buying more stuff for our humble home.  Life was good in suburban America...until I turned on the 5:30 world news.

Wedged uncomfortably in between news about our failing economy and violence on the Gaza strip was a sobering story.  "One more story on our broadcast tonight," Brian Williams mentioned in passing, "Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment of an apparent drug overdose."  Allison and I looked at each other in shock and in sadness.  I know that I am a Christian and that Heath Ledger appeared in Brokeback Mountain, so somehow I am pigeonholed as his arch nemesis.  Regardless of the evangelical earful he was given for playing a gay man who had a gay lover, the story of the man's real life is terribly sad.  
The next 20 minutes Allison and I discussed which movies of his we liked the most and the uncertain future of his two-year old daughter.

I am finally at an age where I no longer feel bulletproof.  I have had a couple of friends die, I am paying for insurance on all sorts of things in case of a terrible accident, and I am feeling more aches in my body now than I ever did before.  I am a 24 year old man with a wife, an American dream, and a heavy heart.  I don't have any particular affinity for Ledger over another actor in my age bracket, like Topher Grace, but I am still in mourning over my generation.  You would think after John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, and now Heath Ledger, the youth of America would take notice of the emptiness found in the pursuit of wealth.  I understand that these men seem to be the exception and not the rule, but how many rehab scandals inside of US weekly do we need to read before we realize "the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil"?

So I sit here, in my bathroom with my laptop, thousands of miles away from Hollywood and I am still surrounded by my own poverty.  Why do I need shop at Target in order to have a good day?  Why do I complain about not having central heat and AC when God has given me everything, including His own Son's blood?  I'm not sure where this blog is going but I am not content.  I do not want to pursue a two-car garage, 3.5 kids, and a fat nest egg because it should be the end goal of my "pursuit of happiness."  I look to Heath Ledger and see a life poisoned by luxury.  He had everything and yet he still met his demise in despair.  I am content with my house, I enjoy Target, and I like having a car, but at what point do these good things become god things?  2 Cor. 4:18.