My latest post to the e-zine Christ and Pop Culture is about the way we summarize our lives. It's called, Your Life in 12 Words or Less: the Dehumanizing Effect of Facebook Profiles, Personal Ads, and Eulogies:
I like to talk. In general, I feel that I usually know what the right thing is to say to a person when they need advice or admonishment. But there's one situation where I don't know if I'll ever have the right words: when a person has lost a loved one. What is there to say that could ever come close to what they are going through? The sorrow, the questions, the guilt, the shock, what words exist that could be shaped to be commensurate to their experience? As difficult as these situations are, imagine if it was your job to summarize the entire life of a person within one or two sentences, not to offer eulogies or condolences, but to give readers or viewers a succinct statement that expressed what the person did with their life. Whenever I read of a murder, a suicide, or an accident, I try to note how the reporter sums up the life of a once living human in 12 words or less.