Is life worth living? This question haunts the most honest of souls. When shrouds of darkness roll in, it’s tempting to wonder whether it’s worth fighting for another breath.
13 Reasons Why deals with the aftermath of the death of someone who came to believe her life was not worth living. And it deals with the before-math—-the events that brought her to this sad conclusion. The screen adaptation of the story has stirred up controversy, with some saying it will awaken viewers to the plight of those considering suicide, and others saying it may inadvertently glamorize the idea.
In the midst of the battle of words, we overlook the sheer hopelessness at the core of the death-set heart. Convinced the darkness of earth outweighs the light, the desperate are driven to pursue death, believing it their only escape from our sin-sick world. But what if instead we set before our eyes a litany of reasons to live, instead of a recitation of reasons to die?
While we could use the evil of the world to deny purpose for life, what about the good? A history of suffering men and women found enough good in this world to keep living, to keep moving forward. Would we be here now, if not?
Men and women from the beginning of time lived through famine, sickness, plague, holocaust, war, slavery, death, and more. And yet the common theme is each found a reason to persevere. Must not the good outweigh the evil, if generation upon generation has survived through the deepest of hells?
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller, herself suffering incredible loss, spoke these words of truth. If suffering can be overcome, and is overcome, and has been overcome through all of history, there must be a reason. There must be something greater. Something worth living for.
In the midst of darkness, on the precipice of battle, Samwise Gamgee spoke these words to his friend Frodo. Though spoken in the realm of fiction, they ring of truth in our non-fiction world of suffering: “By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories…the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer…Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding onto something…that there’s some good in this world…and it’s worth fighting for.”
My prayer for you is that you find that something worth holding onto. Cling to it through all the darkness that is and that lies ahead. And that you come to see this shadow is a passing thing. In the end, light will always prevail.