So there is this video circulating through the interwebs via Facebook, Twitter, and all sorts of other social media venues celebrating a young man who recently died of cancer. The focus seems to be on how inspirational he was, what a "wonderful person" he was, etc. Now here is where I beg of you not to misunderstand me. FOR SURE this was a special young man. To the extent that any fallen human being living in a fallen world can be beautiful and special and wonderful and amazing, he certainly was if anything in that video is true (and I have no reason whatsoever to believe it isn't). His family seems to be equally as special and heartwarming in the way they love and care for each other. I have nothing negative to say about this young man or his family. Nothing at all. They appear to be extraordinary and precious human beings.
But here is what is haunting me. . .
Toward the end of the video, the young man has this to say:
"Death is just another thing on the agenda, kind of. Yeah, it's scary. But the only reason it's scary is because you don't know what's next or if there is a next."
When I heard this, my heart sank. I got a knot in my stomach that comes back every time those words echo through my mind again.
Maybe he knew Christ and just didn't know quite how to express it or didn't feel the freedom to express it. Maybe he found Christ after he made the above statement. Maybe it was just bad editing. I don't know. I hope with all of my heart he's with Jesus now. Truly. I want him to have known what's next. I want his family to know what's next. I find it heartbreaking to imagine anyone coming to the end of their life and not being certain of what lies ahead. This is the greatest argument against living as though "being happy" is the most important thing in life. If all of his happiness ended the day he died, it just wasn't enough. The thought of this makes me shudder and frankly, makes me nauseous if I consider it for too long. "Nice" and "happy" are perfectly good things, but they are pitifully temporary. The only way to be sure of what's next is Jesus. He is so much better than nice and happy, and he's forever.
***I deliberately avoided posting a link to the video. It is not my desire in any way to disrespect this family or attach any appearance of anything negative to this young man's memory. Just trying to process how to respond to this story. Inspired by the way he loved people? Absolutely. But even moreso heartbroken if his "next" wasn't Jesus.