"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4.14, KJV)
On Feb. 6, the death of Monkees lead singer Davy Jones was headline news. Broadcast on NBC, "The Monkees" lasted just two seasons, from September 1966 to March 1968. If you are of a certain age it seems like yesterday. He died at age 66 of a heart attack. I am myself now 68 years of age; when Davy's death was being first told I was in the office of a cardiologist.
A young, British born CNN reporter gave his name as David Jones. Of thus is celebrity. Die young enough and on slow news day and you'll make the 6 o'clock news, only to have younglings who never heard of you get your name wrong.
Any who write about Davy Jones now must begin with who he had been and what he had done, because not many younglings would know who he had been and what he had done. In a swiftly passing "watch in the night" there will soon be none left of us who remember and enjoyed his work.
The report of the passing of one two years my junior, along with my own recent experiences and a lot of other stuff in the news lately brought home again the fleetness and fragility of life.
My first real experience with the vapor of life was when my father died suddenly, also of a heart attack. He was a very old man. He'd been in pain since I was 9 or 10 years old, had been to the Mayo Clinic and a lot of other stuff. He was to me a very old man. He was 50, I was 23.
I remember as a child hearing a preacher named Luke Perrine saying "Six months after you're dead no one will remember anything you said." Funny thing, any of our children will attest that I can barely get through a week without repeating something that my own "old man" said.
The vapor, it seems, lingers only as long as the passing into the next generation's "morrow." It is altogether reasonable to presume that life actually vanishes away only when no one yet alive remembers. If so, the vapor lingers longer than the writer of James implies. Davy Jones, my father, I still have life as long as anyone remembers who we had been and what we had done.
I write these innocuous blogs now some five years. Try to inscribe 500 words each week, more or less. I long ago passed point of actually having something to say, or of believing many read them. Mostly now it's about finding out if I can do it and finding out what I think. Now that 50 years has become young and fleeting, will anyone remember any of what I wrote -- or is it all simply vapor?