When a Legend Dies

As news broke, I didn’t believe it was real. Yet, I continued to scroll Twitter hoping it was all a hoax. But the more I scrolled, the more news came out, the more real it became, and it was confirmed a basketball legend, too young, had died with his daughter. Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant along with seven others were dead in a helicopter accident. In my short life of 46 years, I cannot recall someone’s death having such an impact on so many people’s lives as I have seen in the last 24 hours. This tragedy has rocked people’s lives from all walks of life. Even though the vast majority of people have never met Kobe or even truly know him, people have been deeply affected by his death. This morning as I walked into a Panera I saw two elementary boys wearing their Kobe gear. Last night on Twitter and on Facebook people older than myself were expressing their shock and dismay at the passing of a legend. What is it about Kobe’s passing that has shaken so many people? 

Kobe was larger than life. He never flinched in the face of adversity or in front of his opponents. He had a tenacity that he was going to beat you no matter what it took, and he did. As many would say, “he had ice in his veins.” He seemed unstoppable as a basketball player which for many of us translated into a man who seemed unstoppable in life. He was still young, with a young family and life was still in front of him.

We don’t expect our heroes and legends to die at a young age. If anyone should be able to live a long life, it is our heroes. But this death reminds us of many things we don’t take time to consider or take time to think about.

Life is fragiledeath has no age minimum, and we are all going to die. Whether we realize it or not, we are all a moment away from death, a heart attack, brain aneurism, freak accident, car accident, etc. No matter who you are, death is closer than we realize. Nobody is larger than life that death cannot reach us at any moment. We are all mortal. We are all going to die at some point in this life, we just don’t know when and this scares us. It scares us so much we would rather not think about it or talk about it.

Yet this unknown of death, should not drive us into fear or cause us to be hyper-protective of our lives that we remove all risk. It should actually do the opposite.

Let us live fully in the moment because every moment matters. Life can get pretty busy and stressful. We run from one activity to the next, meetings after meetings, long business trips, school events after school events, sports activities and the moments in our lives can pass us by very quickly. We rarely think about death or even that our “time” might come sooner than later or that those we love might not be here tomorrow. Business is the enemy of the moment. Our busy lives and thinking about what is coming next and the pressure to live in the next moment removes us from the most important moment, the here and now where we live our lives every day and where those who matter most to us live. All we have is this present moment.

Let us speak and show love to the people we care deeply about in our lives. Knowing we are not guaranteed tomorrow, be sure to tell the people in your life you love them and care about them. Work through any hurts, grudges, or disappointments. Don’t let the pressure, stress, and business of life steal the opportunities to speak and show love to those who matter most to us in our in life.

Let us do something great with our lives because we only get one life. One of my favorite quotes from Kobe is this: “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” Every moment with people is an opportunity to encourage, love, and inspire. I was texting a friend today about Kobe’s passing and she said, “He probably had no idea how many people he’s impacted.” I don’t think we realize how many people our lives impact and can impact. Though it may not be to the extent of Kobe’s impact, our life and actions have a greater impact on people’s lives than we realize. We all live in a web of relationships and in these relationships, we have the power to build people up or tear people down. Doing something great, many times is genuinely loving the people we come in contact with every day. How will we use these moments to make people better, to inspire, to love? How do you want to be remembered when you pass away?

Let us not wait. I have heard many people say, “I will do ________________ once I get out of school, once I retire, next week, next month, when I have enough money, or when I’m older.” But if we have learned anything from this tragedy, life is fragile, and if we wait, we may never get to the dream we have for our lives. When Kobe played basketball it seemed as though he played every game as though it was his last game, 100%, full go for as long as he could. What if we were to live every day of our lives like it was our last?

Moments like this can cause us to pause and consider, so what happens next after we die? Much of life after death is a mystery, but from what I read in the Bible, death is not the end. Jesus has conquered death and because of Him, there is life after death. A life where there is no more death, no more tears, no more pain, and no more suffering. A life where we will physically be able to see our loved ones, hug them, laugh together, dance together. There is hope and the hope is Jesus.

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