I've heard this comment dozens of times, heck, I've said it myself, after hearing about someone dying at an early age. The words flow easily, we nod knowingly, and then stare off into space repeating the greatest truth we've ever spoken, failing to realize its significance. "You never know how much time you have. You should enjoy every minute because "YOU NEVER KNOW..."
Twice in the last twelve days, people we've known who were just barely 40, have died. One a heart attack, one a car accident - both shocking in their suddenness, their unexpectedness, and on the surface - unfairness. They were the type of announcements that stop your day on a dime and make you realize how trivial your great concerns of the moment before actually were.
The longer I live, the more I conclude we have to die before we can really live. I don't mean physically die - I mean mentally die. We need to die to our impulses to focus so tightly on the mundane things of man - money, work, possessions, politics, squabbling, so that we can peacefully dwell on the things of the spirit - loving, inspiring, encouraging, forgiving and searching. At the funerals for these two, the talk wasn't about how wealthy they'd been or how effectively they did household chores, it was about how well they laughed, loved and inspired.
When we let the things of man, become more important than individual men, we are asleep. Deeply asleep. And news of early deaths will always shock us momentarily awake. But by tomorrow, we'll drift asleep again. And yell at the kids about dirty dishes when we'd be better off throwing the dishes away and hugging the kids.
You go back to sleep if you want to. This time, I'm staying awake.
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz