Kobe Bryant and Sudden Death: Has the Start of 2020 Left You Feeling Blue?02 Feb 2020
I recall seeing the meme of the famous father and daughter, only a couple of weeks back. He lovingly explained the strategy behind the basketball game to her as she gleams. Her smile was angelic, and his expressions focused, loving and endearing. The kind of moment that draws an innate, warm reaction as you smile at the purity of such intimate moments almost too surreal to be caught on camera. The raw humanness of that moment melted the hearts of audiences over the world, as millions of people shared the video, as the commentator remarks, “I love.. I love this.”
Who knew, only a couple of weeks later, that very same video of Kobe Bryant and his thirteen year old daughter would be shared again – but this time as an ode, memorial, and testimony to two lives tragically taken too early?
Early deaths stand as a reminder to each of us. And in the wake of numerous public deaths in just the first month of the new year, it is almost natural that one begins to reflect upon the fact that it does not matter how many times we hear, are told, and know of the inevitability of fatality – sometimes it hits home. It hits home, that time, too, is only mortal. Time too expires. The beginning and end of all time periods and all those within it, has been written. And time is something we will never have enough of. Through lurking shadows it whisks away, and with its swift yet fragile passing, it too whisks all else away.
Sometimes as time passes, we notice our own temporality. But mostly we don’t. Sometimes being present enough in noticing subtle changes is scary. And sometimes going through those periods of realising you haven’t been noticing close enough, only to be jolted through such news, is equally scary.
But there is beauty to the process of this all. And the beauty at the heart of it is how death as a reminder of our only certainty, is the premise for the formulation of our most authentic relationship with God.
1- Knowing that sometimes, we’re powerless
…and it’s okay. The vulnerability of testifying that is not only okay to be powerless, it’s painstakingly beautiful.
It’s our submission to this reality in the midst of this journey of life which is what enriches us. As we testify to our own weaknesses, we simultaneously testify to the Greatness of a Power who exists beyond the familiar parameters of us. The Power who ordains all. In turn, the most “powerful” of servants in God’s Kingdom, are the ones who acknowledged how powerless they and their future’s truly were before His majesty.
From the mindset of submission, instead of relying on ourselves, and all else which is equally fragile – we work towards making our only source of power, the All Powerful. Hence why the core strength of the saints of God in the face of all trials, came from nothing external in the world – it arose from shedding all else, and turning to Him alone. In this way, trials are the most beautiful gift and vehicle God can give us. Trials are the path to our empowerment in His way, and ultimately the only form of empowerment which is truly lasting. Their fragility reminds us of our eventuality. By breaking down our layers and through our veils in trials, God reaches the most authentic us by revealing how at the end – there is only Him. Alignment to Him, and interceding through the power in Him, then becomes the strength which carries us.
2- He is the familiarity we crave for
As human beings, we are creatures of habit. So we make homes in our temporary world, from which we begin to most identify and familiarise ourselves. In familiarity, we find our comfort, after all. Yet there’s so much to our story beyond the walls of this world.
He not only originated us, created us, nurtured us… but His Love is our final destination. He is the familiarity we yearn for, and He is the home we will return to. Every other perceived familiarity is misplaced, and a redirection towards the ultimate Home that is Him. As a result, the darkness of not knowing inevitabilities in this life is remedied by the light through which He fills all uncertainty. Temporality reminds us, in the end, there is only Him. And there’s a comfort to knowing that. Knowing that our ultimate familiarity can only be with the one who made us with love. The journey of return to Him through life and death is therefore ironically beautiful, knowing Home is at the end.
3- He is the most intimate of Friends
No matter how much popular culture celebrates secularism – it’s only natural to lean on an energy which heightens your sense of stability in the most uncertain of moments. It’s noticeable how it’s almost innate for even the most otherwise religiously disengaged of people to send prayers to the affected in those moments.
Death reminds us, how the One who is closer than our jugular vein, was also the One who was there as we opened our eyes to this world, the One who witnesses the waves of fear in our hearts. The One who knows us better than anyone, and who still loves us better than anyone. When we consider his ever-presence in relation to our realities, and the persistence of Love and blessings which surround us, it’s unreal to appreciate the open door of intimacy to His friendship in this short life.
Peace is His name, and He turns no one away from the door of His peace – however this may manifest in our lives, it’s for us to open our eyes and see. Wherever there is an authentic reach for His friendship, there’s always peace which accompanies it, even in the midst of uncertainty or turmoil.
All in all, this process of being made aware of the sensitivities of death sheds light on the fact that every moment we are gifted is a luxury from Him, and never an entitlement. It’s hard to perceive, how every second has already been pre-determined. How every footstep we take is a step in the direction towards our eventuality.
Though we don’t know timelines, and neither can we ever be ready, what we do know is all we had in the beginning is Him – and all we have in the end is Him. And the true value of our moments is defined by the eternal weight of those moments, in respect to Him — He who holds the balance of life and death, and He who gifts us with the purity of His love through every moment in that process.