I did not personally know Seve Ballesteros the great gentleman golfing legend.
Nor did I know Lionel Rose the great Aussie boxing legend.
Yet, like many others (including some of my dearest friends) these two people have taught me a great lesson in life.
They have confirmed to me the importance of giving life your best shot while you can.
They have inserted a gigantic exclamation mark on my belief that it is less important to get everything you do right and more important to give it a go while you still can.
You see both these great men died this week and both men went to their eternity at an early age.
Seve Ballesteros died at the far too early age of 54, but he had been very sick since 2008 when he was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
Lionel Rose died yesterday at age 62 (two years older than me) but he also suffered a long illness.
So many people fling out the line “Well you never know when your time is up”, but few really ponder on their own mortality and the fact that no matter how you live life, good or bad, no matter what mountains you climb, small or gigantic, no matter how healthy you are, well or poorly, you absolutely will face eternity.
I discovered this personally many, many years ago when it really hit me that I have a finite timeline and I have almost no control of it.
I realised that one day, a day much like today perhaps, I will awake and it will be my last day in this earthly realm and I have no knowledge or control of when that day will be. Maybe it is today?
I realised that answering the question of life and death and what happens after death was the single most important quest of my life and I simply could not afford to be wrong.
Every high falu’tin concept of life, every plucked out of the air philosophy, every belief of every person I met would mean absolutely nothing on that day if I was wrong!
I also realised that this situation where I was completely out of control of my mortality affected everything I did NOW!
It has caused me to ask myself many times over the years, “What if today were ‘The Day’ – have I been living life to the fullest that’s possible for me?
Will God say the words to me that I long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant…” or will I hear the sentence dreaded for an eternity, “I never knew you, depart from me”.
Have I been too afraid of my shadow to try something new and exciting?
Have I sought after safety and comfort over risk and therefore missed out on the exuberance and excitement of trying something new?
Have I let past failures, disappointments and the misfortunes that have befallen others stop me from trying my best and exploring the possibilities?
As I sit here in Melbourne in the miserable rainy, cold weather with both of us suffering from full on mega colds I realise that in my own way I am pushing the boundaries.
I walk onto the University campus among 20,000 students (all much more intelligent than me). I walk through huge buildings over many acres of grounds and I meet with people with the most impressive degrees, and yet I know that in the face of all this they asked US to help them. Us – who live an old caravan with a couple of laptops, no particular skills, little education but a big desire to do our best in life.
I look at Kerrie sleeping and realise the great gift of human love that I have been blessed with.
I look at the 6 months we have lived in our little home and how it has taken us to amazing places.
Its then that I realise that while the mountains we climb may be small compared to others they are OUR mountains and God has set them before us and so we will climb them as far to the top as we can in the time we have.