Dick Clark died today at the age of 82. He was the perpetually youthful host of American Bandstand, beginning his career as a DJ in the early 1950's, at the start of the youth cult that remains strong to this day. As such, he was dubbed "America's oldest teenager."
So many of us in that and succeeding generations have a very difficult time with aging. I read the other day that those on television are now getting chin implants so they look better on screen. We nip, we tuck, we dye, we suck--all to distract ourselves from the obvious--that we, like everyone else, will die.
As I get older, I am losing more and more of my friends and relatives to cancer. No amount of plastic surgery, or even exercise and healthy eating for that matter, will prevent us from one day facing the end of our life on earth. What matters is that we live each day with gratitude to our Creator for the life we have been given and that we try to live it with all the integrity we can muster, with the help of that same creator.
This is why we have funereal traditions. This is why we have Lent. Not to depress us--to remind us, when life itself may not--of the reality of this temporal existence.