The Best Days of Our Lives

“We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re 22 years old. We have so much time,” wrote Marina Keegan.

I had never heard of Marina, the talented and aspiring writer who landed a job with the New Yorker.  Until today.  Her final column for the Yale Daily News has gone viral.  Just days after her graduation from Yale University, Marina died in an automobile accident.

The irony of Keegan’s final column makes her tragic death  even more painful. Her essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” spoke of leaving her circle of friends on the Yale campus.  Her memories.  Her doubts.  Her Fears.  And the joys of the relationships she developed.

As Marina thought about moving on into the real world, she was upbeat and optimistic.   She spoke of the possibilities.  The potential. The prospects of success.  The ability to grow. To change To make a difference.  She wrote, “But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us.” 

Yet once more we are painfully reminded that we “know not what a day may bring forth.”  The Biblical metaphors speak of life as being like a shadow.  A vapor.  A short story.  The wind.  A sigh.  A flower.  When a young person is taken in the full bloom of life, we truly come face to face with this hurtful uncertainty. 

In USA Today, Terrance Ross correctly observed, “Keegan’s legacy may have been cut short, but the lessons she afforded to us should remain forever etched in our psyche.”

“We’ve all heard the phrase “YOLO,” (You only live once) but Keegan’s death is a testament to how the meaning has been skewed. “YOLO” should not be an excuse to revel and indulge in debauchery or binge drinking, instead it should be a call to action, a reminder that now is the time to start achieving our dreams. A reminder to stop allowing fear to manipulate our lives.”

“If anything, Keegan’s all too brief existence is a stark reminder of the fragility of human life. She should serve as not only an example but as a bastion of hope for our generation. In an age where so many of the youth are wasting away Keegan exemplified all that is right in today’s college student.”

“As most of us spend the large majority of our time in college poring over trivial details, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. Mid-terms, finals and internships all take precedent over living life, but we must remain acutely aware of the big picture.”

Ah, the big picture.  That’s difficult when our hearts are aching.  When our eyes are blurred with tears.  When our minds are swirling with “what if’s.” But the big picture is this. “We’re not put on this earth to live forever,” as my Mother often said in her final years. Our lives have eternal implications.  While the body is temporal, the spirit is eternal.  The Believer’s comfort, even in the death of the young, is anchored in Jesus promise of a heavenly home. 

Our time may exceed 80 or 90 years.  Or it may be cut short.  Like Marina’s.  Like my brother, Bill’s. Like so many of you who have lost loved ones way too early.  We are reminded, again, as Emerson said, “One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. No man has learned anything rightly, until he knows that every day is Doomsday.”

And so, make today count. Whether you are young or old.  Live. Learn. Labor.  Listen. And love. 

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

Filed under Life, Uncategorized

3 responses to “The Best Days of Our Lives

  1. Ken Green

    I can’t find the “like” button. Poignant; reflective; sobering. Good writing!

  2. Pingback: The Opposite of Loneliness | ThePreachersWord

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