The news, this last Sunday of January, has been interrupted by bulletins from California, that KOBE BRYANT and his 13-year-old lovely daughter have been killed in a helicopter crash in thick fog on a mountainside in the steep hills east of Los Angeles. Seven others were with them. Many have headed to the crash site.
A reporter for one of the news outlets wrote that he was weeping while he wrote, crying out to the sky, "Why? Why? " He urged all who would hear him to do the same, "let it go, cry out the tragedy of it all."
That's the way it always is, when one of our own suddenly dies, and leaves us. All the more if they are young and full of life - even a legend, like Kobe, the "greatest basketball player of all time."
We're a little more ready when it's the old who die. As one old man said to Molly and me at dinner last night, of his wife's death not long after they arrived at Covenant Village: "It was not unexpected."
With the heroes it's never "expected." We live our lives thinking that we will have this gift forever. We fool ourselves into thinking we too, will be forever young. We struggle with our self-expectations as each new decade comes. "But, I always did such and such." Inside our minds and bodies continues those illusory ideas of what we can do, because we always did.
But of course, Kobe was a legend in his own time. He made 60 points in his last game. He was already in the Hall of Fame. He'd already won championships. He was many times the Most Valuable Player. He is L.A.'s hero and, by extension, America's hero.
But what does his abrupt and flaming death on earth say to us about LIFE? About how we live, and to what end and purpose? Do we shout out our sorrow to the skies? Do we beat our chests and rip our clothes, the way some traditions do?
Or, do we mercifully find a hand to hold? A life to remember, a short life we are honored to remember, and emulate? Like Jesus' hand. Do we open our Bibles and read the treasured pages of John's Gospel, and the vibrant Book of the Acts of the Apostles, and the Letters of Paul? And, the great prophesies of Isaiah and Hosea and Amos? And the stories of the beginnings in Genesis?
They all stir us. They remind us of the One sent from Heaven to live among us. And show us how to live. They show us the great lives, and the great principles of living great was ourselves. They point the path. When, in all the years we've known, has such a Path been needed by us more than now?
A call to thought - and prayer. And, renewed practice.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES