Tuesday, April 29, 2014


 Courtney Sanford

Remember when you were a kid, and you couldn't wait for school to let out in June? You wished away the hours, the weeks, the months, so that time would move at lightning speed and the summer would arrive early. You lied about your age or, at the very least, stretched it by proudly announcing, "I am nine and a three quarters now." 

Then you get older. A lot older. Like pushing fifty older, and you start doing things to make time stop ticking so fast. Problem is, the older you get, the faster it goes. Time is indeed relative, but it is relative to age. When you're young, you are immortal and death is an incomprehensible concept at best. When you're no longer young, death seems as real as the old worn out clothing hanging in your closet or the reflection of your face staring back at you in the bathroom mirror each morning.   

You don't know when it's coming. That's a good thing.

Just two days ago, 32 year old Courtney Sanford was driving on a highway in North Carolina while rocking out to the "Happy Song." The tune was making her so happy, she picked up her cell phone and snapped a selfie, posting the word "Happy" along with the digital snapshot on her Facebook timeline. Problem is, during the process of telling the world how happy she was, she smashed head -first into a truck. The truck burst into flames and she died. All time stopped for Courtney then, but at least she died happy.

This weekend, a movie will open in the UK about a four year old boy who died on the operating table and went to heaven where he claimed to have met John the Baptist, Jesus, and even a sibling who had been stillborn. The movie, which is said to be based on real life events, is sure to raise some eyebrows amongst those Godless folks who believe heaven is as much fantasy as Candyland. Regardless of the truth about the boy's experiences, I find the subject infinitely fascinating. What if there really is a heaven, and conversely, what if there really is a hell? I'm not a religious man, but the spiritual side of me hopes for something beyond the here and now. Only the dead know the truth.

I can only imagine that prior to his surgery, the little boy was one of those happy go lucky kids who used to exaggerate his age while wishing time would speed up so that summer would get here already.  I also wonder if Courtney is in heaven or something like it. I wonder what she would have to say about her experience. I wonder if she is somehow, still happy. I can only imagine that she was trying to slow time down a little by telling the world how content she was at that very second in her life. The same exact second that the life became the death. 

They say that when we die, a we lose a small amount of weight. Some attribute this phenomenon to the soul leaving the body and heading off for new horizons. I like this concept. It's somehow comforting. Death is inevitable for all of us. The only thing we have between right now and that one singular moment when the heart stops beating is time. A lot of it, or a little. But of course, the amount is relative.

The point is to live for the moment. Choose to be happy, just like Courtney Sandford did during her final moment on earth. Don't choose to be sad and bothered by life's drudgery. Look forward to summer like that little boy, but also, be happy right now. Snap and selfie, and go ahead and tell the world.

Just don't do it while you're driving.



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