I was still reeling in the superficial and insignificant frustrations of a colossal choke job by my perennially-disappointing Indianapolis Colts when the news dropped that well-known Hollywood actor and comedian Bob Saget had died unexpectedly.
Like many in my generation, I was raised with Saget a mainstay on my childhood television screen – first as the annoying goofball Danny Tanner of Full House, then as the cheesy host of America's Funniest Home Videos. And though I always blamed Saget for choosing the three least-funniest videos as finalists each week, AFHV became a Sunday evening staple in my house and millions of others.
As I write this, no cause of death has been announced. Nothing other than the shocking announcement that the 65-year-old Saget was found dead in his Orlando hotel room by staff, and that "detectives found no signs of foul play or drug use in this case."
The tributes poured in from colleagues and costars:
Two weeks ago, actress and comedian Betty White died at the age of 99, drawing condolences and celebrations of a long, productive life. The responses to Saget's passing have been, quite logically, filled with more devastation, shock, and grief. But it was the actor's own Twitter feed that provided perhaps the most jarring quality to the news.
He sent that tweet at 3:42 am, a discomforting proof that he had no idea he had less than 12 hours to live.
One of the most remarkable things about humanity continues to be our willingness to make plans and preparations for anything and everything, even though there's absolutely no guarantee we will ever see them.
We plan for retirement without any guarantee we'll ever live to see it. We plan for our kids' weddings without any guarantee that they'll even find someone to marry them. We plan to buy our vacation home, or RV, without any guarantee we'll be physically capable (or around) to enjoy them. And here was Saget tweeting about, and making preparations for a full comedy tour that he would never conduct.
There's nothing wrong with making plans and looking forward to things in this life, obviously. It would be a miserable existence to just sit and wait for death to arrive, or to live constantly obsessed over when and how it will happen.
But there is something dreadfully wrong with our tendency to ignore the one thing in life we are guaranteed. People say "death and taxes," but surely we're all smart enough to know that there are plenty of people who find ways to avoid the latter. But the former? Death has a flawless track record in its competition with humanity, save that one man from Nazareth, of course. Wouldn't it be wise of us, in the course of making our plans for the future, to spend a bit of time making plans for our eternal future?
I don't know if Bob Saget did that. I can speculate like anyone based off the fruits of his life, but ultimately that is a futile and unrewarding exercise. His window of time to prepare for the hereafter has closed. If you're reading this, yours hasn't.
So by all means, enjoy each breath, savor each moment, forgive and love, laugh and live life to the fullest. But the One who owns us all reminds us deliberately that it is "appointed unto all men once to die." That could be when we're pushing the century mark like Betty White, or it could be moments after we've tweeted out our exciting plans for the coming week's comedy shows.
Fear God, follow Jesus, live with the Spirit's guidance, and you'll be ready whenever it is.