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Self-Worth & the Tragedy of Karl Slym & Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Another one bites the dust. Needlessly.

It seems like Phillip Seymour Hoffman followed in the footsteps of Karl Slym. Even though their deaths differ in their manner, what's common is the loss of two men of immense talent. Both were responding to grief caused by broken relationships.

Karl Slym was passionate about the motor car business, and probably was on the verge of turning Tata Motors around. Phillip S Hoffman gave us films with acting exhibitions that were beyond brilliant. His acts were near genius.

What an immense loss of talent!

Whatever the reasons for their deaths, what's underlying, and that drives the most talented of people to waste away comes from a misplaced sense of worth that abounds from pursuits, personal and professional, that are at their core simply futile and empty.

To live, you have to value life. To value life you have to believe in more than the value that comes out of either mortal relationships, or even something that on surface seems productive, namely work. Sure, human relationships bring with them meaning,. So does work. But they aren't everlasting. Work at some point in time will cease to exist in a way that's meaningful. The zeal out of your various relationships will eventually dim. What will in the end remain is you.

You alone.

Where will your worth then come from?

Consider Horatio Spafford. His losses would have snuffed out other mortals. He suffered immense financial loss, and to top it all he lost his four daughters when the vessel they were sailing in, the SS Ville du Havre sank in the Atlantic. How did Horatio respond to such immeasurable grief? He penned the hymn, 'It is well with my soul'.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! 

What saved Horatio was his intimate relationship with an immortal, his creator. His worth came neither from his possessions, nor from his mortal relationships. Horatio belonged to a creator who had bought him with his own blood, at the cross of Calvary. Horatio's hope came as much from the Cross, as it did from an empty tomb. A risen creator waiting for him was his hope, which is why he penned, 'the sky, not the grave, is our goal'.

A living-reigning creator had given Horatio his sense of worth. A creator who loved him beyond measure, and who had formed in his own image is why Horatio not just survived, but thrived.

How wonderful is that! 

Amen.

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