Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some Musings on the Passing of Elizabeth Taylor

"It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart." Ecclesiastes 7:2

I turned on my computer this morning only to learn that Elizabeth Taylor had died at the age of 79.

I’m not a huge Elizabeth Taylor fan. (Indeed, I'm not a huge fan of any movie star.) I only own two of her movies, Ivanhoe & Cleopatra. And I only own them because they’re good movies, not because she was in them. (In fact, Cleopatra really belongs to Mrs Squirrel, and my copy of Ivanhoe is on VHS, and I've not had a working VCR in years...)

So, why am I writing about Elizabeth Taylor’s death? While I was reading her obituary this morning, it reminded me of something I’ve thought of often – what people say they want out of life.

It seems that we, humans in general & Americans in particular, admire & desire several things: beauty, wealth, & fame. These are the things that we think will make us happy in life. The entire advertising industry’s goal is to play off of these desires to make us buy things (and they’re quite good at it.) Health clubs, gymnasiums, and spas provide us with places where we can work hard to try to prolong our youthful physiques as long as possible. (I am not knocking good health. I know that I need to exercise more myself, and could probably improve my food choices.)

The sad thing is that it is clear that beauty, wealth, & fame are not able to make anyone happy or fulfilled. Indeed, a cursory examination of the headlines displayed on the magazines by the checkout stand at your local grocery store would indicate that the people who possess the beauty, wealth, and fame that everyone else desires are among the most miserable and messed up people around. (Exhibit A: Charlie Sheen. Exhibit B: Lindsay Lohan.)

There’s no doubt that Elizabeth Taylor possessed wealth & fame and, in her youth, beauty. There is also no doubt that Elizabeth Taylor lived a fairly messed up life. She had several affairs with married men, some while she was married herself. She was married and divorced multiple times. She spent time in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. In later life, she struggled with obesity. In short, Elizabeth Taylor exhibited all the hallmarks of a sinful human being.

Sadly, there’s absolutely no indication that she had repented of her sin and trusted in Christ alone for salvation. Her obituary in the New York Times makes absolutely no mention of any religious faith whatsoever.

In her life, Elizabeth Taylor possessed all the things that people think will make them happy and fulfilled, yet an examination of her life does not paint the picture of a happy and fulfilled woman. Instead, it is a portrait of an unhappy woman, struggling to find fulfillment in romance, sex, and a lifestyle of lavish self-indulgence.

Elizabeth Taylor’s passing from this life into the next is a good time to remind ourselves that true happiness and fulfillment can only be found in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

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