No, I’m not talking about the pop song “We are Young” by FUN. Today, TIME released an article about a young 22-year old Yale graduate who passed away only a few days after her commencement in a car accident. Her name was Marina Keegan and while she was an English major undergraduate at Yale University, she was the president of Yale Young Democrats and an active player of her college’s branch Occupy Street movement.
Her name became viral because of the ode she wrote to life, the final essay that she wrote for the Yale Daily News not intending it to be the last essay she would write in her life. According to the article, Marina Keegan had a promising future:
A promising writer, she had already penned articles for NPR and The New York Times and blogged for The New Yorker, where she was set to start work as an assistant to the general counsel in June. “She was so excited she was going to start work there — that’s all she talked about,” her mother Tracy Keegan told the New York Daily News.
The special edition of Yale Daily News where her essay was printed, was distributed during the Commencement ceremony. For such a promising uplifting ode to life and to the future, her death was too unexpected, almost unfair for the one who had so much life ahead of her.
Death humbles us in the greatest way. It teaches us the price of life, and makes some work harder for the time it lasts. The story of Marian Keegan is a shocking one, but so are the stories of so many lives cut short everyday. We may not have known her from close, personally, if ever until this moment when we read about her through these articles. Yet the bond that links all of us together rings a resounding sound of sadness at the thought that man is ultimately powerless even before his/her own life and death. Our good deeds on earth, our accomplishments, our rights and wrongs– none of these win us a ticket for longer life on earth. In fact, nothing does.
If we were to sit and ponder about death, and let that thought invade us and paralyze us in dreaming big and hoping for the future, it’s not worth the pondering. No one should have to live life constantly thinking about death. Death would humble us, and drive us to make the most of the life we have. But to live in fear of it, to put aside life and the work we can do for God because of death, would be wrong of us. Had Marian Keegan spent her 22 years in fear of death, knowing that her life would end so soon, such a beautiful essay as she had written wouldn’t have been so promising and inspiring for the readers. It now rings sadness in light of her death. But her words “We are young. We are young” still look towards the future, the unknown.
As Christians, the question of death is a question of hope. Our faith in the eternal life and the eternal kingdom frees us from nihilism. The life of heaven for us, begins now as we spend the allotted time of our life on earth for the glory of His kingdom. Trusting in God to be our Master, to entrust Him with our lives– the seconds, minutes, days and years, in His hands, liberates us from feeling powerless. It is in Him we have faith and it is through Him we have life.
We all have fear of the unknown, yet it could be that because we do not know the time and date of when our lives will end and our lives in heaven will begin, we can live with hope and to its fullest.