Danny, my 33-year-old next-door neighbor, died last week. Nearly everyone is saying he died too young, and what a tragedy it is.
Can we die too young? And is it a tragedy if we do die young?
Here is part of Danny’s obituary from our local newspaper:
“He was a free spirit and loving person. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He never met a stranger. . . . He was the best kind of trouble, the kind you knew had nothing but love for his friends and family. He loved to play hard, fight hard and laugh from all the way down in his giant heart.”
With his long hair, earrings, and tattooed, tall muscular body Danny was a formidable sight. I’ve known him only about four years. But that was long enough to appreciate this gentle giant of a man. He was always laughing and joking. If his family or friends needed him, he’d be there in an instant. As his obituary said, he never met a stranger, and everyone was his friend.
His obituary sums up Danny’s short life perfectly — he lived every day fully and joyfully. What a powerful role model for us all!
Friends, you’ve got to get over this “death thing” you have.
Stop thinking in terms of death and start thinking in terms of life. Life is all there is. There is no death except in your human minds. That death is pure illusion. It doesn’t exist.
Most of you reading this already know what we just said. But you don’t live as if you know it.
Danny is not gone. He’s with his family and friends, all those he loves still, in a far more powerful way than ever before.
The veil between life and death is growing thinner. You never lose those you love. The bonds of love, the connections of communication are always available to you, “dead” or “alive.” No exceptions.
So did Danny die too young?
Is dying young a tragedy?
Friends, you have such strange ways of measuring or judging life and death. You usually judge life by how much material success you achieve. You usually judge death by the number of years you lived.
None of that makes a damned bit of difference! It just doesn’t matter.
Danny lived his short live joyfully. He brought that joy — it was always contagious — into the lives of all who knew him. Family, friends, strangers.
He decided he’d spread enough joy in this lifetime. Now it was time to spread more joy in the realms of spirit. It doesn’t get any better than that.
You cannot judge a life (your own or anyone else’s) by its length. The only true measure of success in life (or death) is the amount of joy you feel.
Danny was more successful than most humans.
We’ll echo John’s words here: Godspeed, Danny!