Note: This reflection was written 1/31/20 – less than a week after his death in a helicopter crash
Actually, there are TWO reasons.
As with any sudden death, it is a reminder that each moment we are alive and get to spend with people we love is precious. It’s a reminder to be present to, enjoy and be grateful for WHAT WE HAVE and not lose sight of it in our busy routines or efforts to have more.
Now for the second, less obvious reason…
Between the news and social media coverage this week, it’s hard to imagine anyone not knowing who Kobe Bryant was.
But that is exactly what I ask you to do, my friend. Imagine that you had never heard of Kobe Bryant – not because YOU don’t follow basketball, but because KOBE never followed his dream.
Kobe was born with many gifts – one of which was his athletic ability, especially with a basketball. And Kobe had a dream that required him to claim, develop and use that gift – ultimately becoming one of the greatest players of all time.
But what if Kobe had denied his gift, believing “It’s nothing. I’m not that good.”??
What if he had ignored or dismissed his dream, thinking “That’s crazy” ??
What if he had doubted his dream with “Who do I think I am?” or “That could never happen.” ??
If he had believed that “he should get a REAL job” or “shouldn’t get his hopes up” or “he’ll just be disappointed”, people around the world would not be mourning his death.
Nor would his death be in the news if he had “dumbed down” his athletic ability or played small so that others wouldn’t feel inadequate around him. The name Kobe Bryant would mean nothing to us if he had held himself back so that he could fit in and be like everyone else to be accepted.
If that had happened, there would be no Mamba Sports Academy to support young athletes develop their gifts. There would be no Kobe &; Vanessa Bryant Foundation to help tackle issues of homelessness in Los Angeles. And the lives of those who have benefited from these organizations and Kobe’s life would be vastly different.
Which is why his death matters to you and me, my friend……
It matters because YOU have been given gifts as well.
And the world needs you to claim, honor, develop and use those gifts because you were given them for a REASON. Your unique combination of gifts, talents, experiences – and the dreams of your heart – are needed in this world. You were created ON purpose, WITH purpose.
The reason Kobe’s death matters is because it is a “reality check” to see how (and IF) we are responding to the gifts we have been given and the dreams of our heart. It is a reality check on how we are living our lives. Are we saying “YES” to what calls to us and lights us up – or not?
The suddenness of Kobe’s death exposes the illusion of “someday, one day, later”.
Today is the day to stop ignoring, discounting, dismissing, judging or putting off your dreams – and the gifts you have been given.
Today is the day to stop “dumbing yourself down” or holding yourself back to be liked, to fit in, to not disappoint others or have them feel inadequate around you.
Today is the day to trust yourself, your gifts and your dreams more than what other people think or tell you to do.
TODAY is the day to stop asking “who do I think I am?” and stand in the truth that you were created to be the UNIQUE human being you are on PURPOSE, with PURPOSE.
The author Howard Thurman wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Basketball made Kobe come alive. So did being a “girl dad”, mentoring and coaching kids, helping the homeless and making an Oscar-winning animated short film.
And in using his gifts and following his dreams, not only did Kobe come alive – he brought life, joy, hope, beauty, and love to the world.
And THAT, my friend, is what you were created to bring to the world as well. It’s what you DO bring to the world every time you claim the unique gifts you’ve been given and honor the dreams in your heart.
Kobe’s death matters because it reminds us – you and me – that WE matter.
Your gifts, your dreams matter, my friend…
If you’ve been waiting for permission, you’ve had it from the moment you were born – permission from the God who created you and wants you to live a full-out life of freedom and joy.
The only permission you need now is your own.
Starting with ONE step.
Are you in?
P.S. You’ve got this! AND God’s got YOU!