What Is Your Life?

January 28, 2020

Sports fans of all ages will always remember where they were when they heard the news. They will forever remember who told them that Kobe Bryant was dead, lost in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. He was a larger-than-life figure; an incredible one-of-a-kind athlete, an Oscar winner, an artist, a philanthropist, a husband, father, son, and today all over the world people are expressing their love and admiration for him. We’re shocked. How could a man with everything he had going for him be gone at only 41? Besides our grief for him and his family, we have such grief for ourselves. We all feel our vulnerability keenly. If he couldn’t control or escape death, what does that mean for us?

This awareness of our vulnerability is an awful-wonderful thing. It’s painful, frightening, but can also be transformative if we allow it to be so. James confronted us with the reality about life and death and our vulnerability: “Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air].” James 4:14 AMP

When something happens that confronts you with the fact that your feelings of vulnerability are not just feelings, they are fact, what then? You can cave into despair and hopelessness. You can be motivated to fear. Or, you could take the time to reflect, sensing the shortness and unpredictability of life, and do something wonderful with the moments you do have. All over social media there are people, from celebrities to ordinary people, talking about the need to love each other, hug each other, build relationships while we can. Good . . . no great, perspective.
Kendrick Perkins seemed to take the awareness of the brevity of life and the importance of relationships personally and seriously. Perkins had criticized Kevin Durant, his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, on Twitter this month for leaving the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors after the 2015 season. He called it “the weakest move in NBA history!” Of course, the tweet got plenty of press and was magnified over time, and a lifelong feud appeared likely.

But the death of their peer and colleague seemed to motivate Perkins to reach out and attempt to mend past wounds between them. After learning of Bryant’s death, Perkins sent a personally felt but publicly shared tweet to Durant: “Just wanted to tell you I love you, my brother, and whatever I did to hurt you I’m sorry bro and hope you forgive me! I love you, bro; real talk! @KDTrey5"

Nearly three hours later, Perkins elaborated that Bryant would have wanted “us to get past differences with our brothers and move on. My new motto with everything is what would Kobe do? He’d want us to focus more on the loss of his daughter. He’d want us all to get past differences with our brothers and move on.”

This tragic event can have some redemptive value in all of our lives in our vulnerability and sense of grief and loss, if we would honestly and humbly evaluate our own relationships, and then humbly ask or extend forgiveness. Life is too short to do anything else.