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Monday, February 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Movies(or "The Value of a Life")

I recently watched two similar yet very different movies within days of each other. They both left me thinking about each one itself as well as how there were similarities yet completely drastically different endings. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead!)

The first was Million Dollar Baby


We started off really enjoying this movie about a young lady, who it seems had a pretty difficult life, and a love for boxing. With the help and training of an at first somewhat reluctant coach/trainer, she goes on to be a champion female boxer.

This is a somewhat rags to riches story, she is eventually able to provide well for her ungrateful mother and family and seems to have it all; Success at a sport she loves, money to provide for herself and her loved ones. Life is now good.

Then a tragic accident happens, one that leaves her permanently disabled. I don't know whether this was a true story or not. I suspect not, but I honestly don't know.(more on this movie in a minute)

The next movie we watched was Joni. This movie is a true story. It is similar in that Joni was once a very active, young lady as well. It is also similar in that a tragic accident left her permanently disabled just like the young lady in the movie above.

The difference in these movies is how each responds to her situation. You would think being a major Hollywood, well known and successful production the first title would have the happy ending and be a more uplifting movie, while the less known true story would have a more tragic ending..you would think, but think again!

In the first movie the young lady decides without the use of her body, her life isn't worth living anymore. Sadly it seems many agree with her. Ridden to her hospital bed she tries to find ways to end her life. She even begs her beloved coach and seemingly only true friend and support to help her end her life.

I mean, once you've lived and experienced the glory of winning a championship who would want to live life confined to a bed? What use was there for her in this life? What reason did she have to continue going on? Apparently she or her coach never found those answers because in the end he granted her request, though he struggled on many levels with it, in the end I guess he decided that was the right thing to do.... How sad...

Joni is different. While she struggled with many of the same feelings(which one of us wouldn't!) she DID find a reason to go on! For one, her faith in Jesus, which grew and became deeper over time was a huge part of that, with her family and close friends by her side, a self worth defined by more than her body or accomplishments she has gone on to live a full and vibrant and worthy life. She has been a HUGE inspiration to many, and has reached out to help and bless others.

Is her life different than it once was? Of course! Is it less than it once was? Not a chance! Her life will obviously never be what it would have been had the accident not occurred. But it doesn't make it any less a valuable life, or one less worth living.

I personally just really had a hard time with the decisions and choices each made and the drastically different views each had of their own worth and life's worth. As a Christian I can't help but believe that it was Joni's faith in Jesus Christ that made the difference for her. I guess if you don't have an eternal perspective on life, than even the life here on earth has a different meaning and value.

If all we have is ourselves, our bodies, our money and accomplishments, I guess it would be hard to find a reason to continue on when all that is taken from us.

It does make one want to take the time and pause and evaluate where we are placing our worth and value. If you look closely you will usually see it is where we are spending most of our money or our time, energy and thoughts.

If you look closely and are honest with your self, you may find you need to do a little re-prioritizing in your own life. I know I do!

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