Junior Seau, Desire, Vanity, & Wasted Lives

Junior Seau, Desire, Vanity, & Wasted Lives
Junior Seau was a beast at linebacker!!! He was one of the most talented, passionate guys ever to play in the NFL! Somewhere in my mom’s house is a stack of Junior Seau trading cards from my Sports illustrated for Kids magazines. Don’t judge me.  Seau was strong, fast, and relentless.  That made him a superstar.  He was a leader…a brown one. That made him a hero to this kid.  Seau gave his everything to the game that he loved – enduring countless injuries, limitless pain, and unknown mental strain.  It’s hard to imagine that anything or anyone was more important to him than playing the game he loved at a high level.

Last month, Seau was found lifeless in his Oceanside, California home.  The gunshot wound to his chest is believed to have been a self-inflicted injury.  The news shocked the community of Oceanside, sports fans everywhere, and seemed to punch me in the chest. Repeatedly. The investigation is still incomplete, but I think about only one thing whenever I think of Junior Seau now:  All is Vanity!

Scripture says this frequently. Read and study Ecclesiastes closely and you see that the author works hard to show the vanity (uselessness, pointlessness,worthlessness, fruitlessness) of all  human pursuits – when they are seen as the main thing. These pursuits, he suggests, are of value, but not of ultimate importance.  It’s really a matter of proper place. Everything has a place, but everything can’t be in first place.  The word vanity, literally, means vapor, breath, or breeze.   The image of someone “chasing the wind” seems to fit nicely here – running to embrace something you can never get your hands on.

Be it excessive work, extraordinary self-indulgences (pleasures), or even extreme quests for wisdom, knowledge, and wealth…Ultimately, they are all vanity!

I pray often for and with people, the young & young at heart.  Most often, they are tossed around by this constant grind to fill a deep inner emptiness. Most try their best to get that void filled with anything.  Desperate, they try things that, in the end, are insignificant and powerless to satisfy them.  We wrestle with the questions of “why” and “what now” when the things and/or people to which they’ve given their everything are suddenly gone.   Similarly, I often worry when I see parents put incredible pressure on kids, driving them to focus heavily on academics, sports, and clubs.  These things are definitely important.  They contribute heavily to the development of young people, but the principle found in this Ecclesiastes says that these things are only “of some value” in the end.  In the end, they really don’t matter.  The great tragedy of this life is that any of us would exhaust our time, energy, and passion chasing things that, ultimately, don’t matter. That, it seems, was Solomon’s point.  Don’t waste your life on things that don’t really matter. Instead, he concluded, humanity’s whole duty was to fear God and keep God’s commandments.  That was the main thing and all else was vanity!

I’ll miss Junior Seau. I still wish that he could have a do-over.  I wonder if he would live differently, knowing that in the end what matters most is our relationship with God?

Would you? What are your priorities? What are the things that take up most of your time? Which are the most valuable? Will these things still be valuable in 5 year, 10 years, 50 years?  In eternity?

Leave a Reply