Have a good line

It’s a quote from tonight’s episode of “Glee,” but it seemed appropriate.

It refers to the line between dates that remembers a person’s life. Mine started with 1979 and, I hope, will end a long time from now, but what matters is the line. On each of our tombstones, a motto or short description might inform strangers of who we were. Our eulogies and obituaries might say a bit more, but mostly what people will think of when they see those dates is the time in between. Was it too short, or inordinately long? And why? What happened?

Footsteps

Whenever someone dies we think about these things, and that’s not to say we never think about them at other times, but it means more when we consider how much time we waste on things that don’t matter.

I admit, the only reason I saw tonight’s episode was because of Cory Monteith’s death. The 31-year-old actor who played recent high school football quarterback Finn Hudson died earlier this summer from a drug overdose, and I, perhaps like other morbidly curious TV viewers, wanted to see how the show would handle his character’s absence. I think all of us who watched got more than we expected. I hope.

Because memorials aren’t really for the deceased. They’re for the ones left behind.

No, Cory Monteith didn’t die a hero’s death–not unless his death inspires others to seek help for addictions or to realize in time the dangers of drugs–but a lot of people loved him, and I feel for his family and friends and his coworkers at “Glee.” For them his life wasn’t defined by how he died, but in how he lived.

People think it’s that second date that holds some meaning–some insight into what makes a long life achievable. They think it holds some secret to longevity? But there aren’t any secrets to walking a good line. It’s different for everyone, as it should be.

Don’t let its length fool you.

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