The tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, and the others, was really sad, very heartbreaking. My condolences to all those families. May the Lord hold them close and bring them comfort.
I soon found myself a bit annoyed however, my news feeds, my email, everything just lit up with the news. Everywhere I went, everything I did, it was, “Hey, did you hear about Kobe?” No disrespect intended at all, but I really had to search my brain to remember who he even was. Basketball, maybe??
I don’t want to dismiss the tragedy or deny people their feelings, deny their grief, but I really wanted to try to understand why we are all shedding tears for Kobe as a culture, as a mass, and not for the tragic suicides, overdoses, and deadly alcohol infused car wrecks, happening locally to the people we know, happening to our friends and neighbors, right here and now?
And then it clicked and then I understood. You watch people trapped in these self destructive patterns, addiction, depression, and well, the outcome is going to be pretty bad. It always is. You either change your behavior or you’re going to die. We aren’t all that surprised when we hear that someone self destructive is spiraling downward.
But someone like Kobe? Someone with great success, someone making good choices? A complete innocent like his daughter? Those kind of deaths really hurt, they remind us of how vulnerable we really are, how unjust death is, and how it can come to any one of us at any moment.
The truth is, we secretly hope that fame, fortune, talent, good looks, intelligence, success, making good choices, can prevent death, can insulate us from the truth of our own existence. Kobe was larger than life in our eyes and so by default we kind of expected him to be larger than death, too. We do that with celebrities, with our heroes, with our idols.
Kobe was a Catholic guy, it is rumored he went to mass that morning. Let’s let this tragedy, the injustice of death, the unfairness of it all, remind us that our days are not promised, that we need to get right with the Lord. It’s such a simple thing, just look up, thank Him for your life, and begin a conversation.