By Hakim Abdul-Ali
By now, you and the rest of the world has heard of the deaths of professional basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, 41, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, this past Sunday. Like an unexpected bolt of unspeakable informational lightning, this tragically sad news hit the entire world with shock, grief and sorrow.
I was made aware of the incident when my son, David, who lives in the greater Los Angeles, California area, notified me of same. Needless to say, I was shocked, but not totally stunned, by this tragic occurrence, a point, hopefully, you’ll understand more fully as you read on.
First, please let me extend my sincere, heartfelt condolences to the Bryant and to all others who died families, loved ones and friends because their pains and miseries are heavy upon their hearts and souls at this very moment. I genuinely pray to the Creator Alone, Who Alone is the architect of life and death to comfort and aid all those who are close to these departed souls in this agonizing period.
Secondly, by way of giving my spin on this solemn happening, I want to say that I had called my son as soon as I realized that he notified me of this calamitous accident to ask what were his vibes about what had happened. I did this because my son knew and had several business interactions with Kobe when he was a budding superstar with the Los Angeles Lakers, even once being gifted a personal team signed commemorative jersey signed by Kobe and other members of the 2002 championship team.
Like many sports minded folk from throughout the world, I marveled at my son’s unique Laker jersey acquisition, which was displayed handsomely in his office at that time. An adopted Laker fan indeed, my son was given this awesome sports memorabilia as a result of his then business job connections with a major corporation he once worked for at that time.
My son is a very modest guy, and he doesn’t get excited about too many things or folks in his worlds of existences. That’s just who he is, and when I asked him about the jersey, he merely brushed it off as a special gift that was presented to him by the Laker organization back then.
Fittingly, I asked him how he felt about what had happened, and he said that the accident was truly an appalling, untimely occasion. He went on to say, “The accident was one of those situations where it makes you think very deeply about how individuals have died before their lives were completed, especially children and relatively young adults long before they had an opportunity to establish themselves further in the world and in life.”
After hearing my son’s comments, it brought me to where I’m at right now attempting to put my thoughts into sync for this week’s column. Please know that, as I’ve said, I’m a general sports fan, and I’ve always been one for the last six plus decades.
If you’ve been reading my spiritual vibrations, reflective thoughts and candid topical opinions over the last thirty or so consecutive years of writing for The Charleston Chronicle, then what is to follow should not be a stunner to you. Notice that I’m still employing my thoughts on the veins of being stunned, and I’ll now explain exactly why I think the way that I do now as I did when I first was made aware of the tragic accident.
Please know that I believe in the absolute supreme power, might and prestige of God Alone, Who Alone controls everything and everyone in existence, and that includes the phenomena of life and death. Everyone of us, including me and, yes, you too, will taste of and experience death in this temporary phase of living called the present moment with no escape clauses included in our birth certificate contracts.
All will surrender to death’s call, and it doesn’t matter who or what you call yourself, what the color of your skin is, what your nationality is, and no matter whether you’re fabulously wealthy or terminally impoverished, death is but a nearby heartbeat away for all living souls. Do you really comprehend this?
I hope that you do. I know I surely do, and that’s why whenever death occurs, however, or whenever, it does takes place, I’m not stunned at all because I know that it was predestined to occur. And even with the tragic circumstances surrounding all those aboard that helicopter flight in Calabasas, including sports legend Kobe Bryant and the eight other precious beings, it has only solidified my spiritual mindset in being able to recognize that with each moment extended to us all, we have to get it together and attempt to do good, positive and meaningful things in our lives and communities that would be pleasing and worthy of praising the Most High Alone for allowing us to be present in the here and now before it’s too late.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so we all therefore should realize that the living experience is so fragile until only halfwits take it for granted as though the very next moment is an assured given to them. No, it is not, and I offer that hoping that, as you think about what I’ve just said, you’ll contemplate, while you’re reading this now, that there are some newborns who came into existence somewhere in the world, just as I’m sure that there were some deaths of some known and many unknown beings to us occurring someplace in the universe.
Listen closely. This is the Creator Alone’s world, and He Alone takes and gives as He Alone pleases and chooses. I poignantly feel that all of “hue-manity” needs to realize that Kobe’s and the other’s deaths on that day really are resuming wake up signs from God Alone to us reminding us that time waits for no one, and death can and will occur at moments we can’t even “hue-manly” think of or possibly rehash.
Kobe’s passing at his somewhat young age symbolizes to me, and it should to you and others, that we all have to make our deeds and actions positively count before the predictable unpredictable occurs. Life is getting shorter with each fleeting second, so make sure you show optimistic love and confident vibes to those who are near and dear to you before it’s truly too, too late.
In closing, I’d like you to think back reflectively in your own memories of how someone you knew, unpredictable predictable, died and how you may have been “shocked” when it happened. I trust that after reading this article you may get a firmer insight into the reality that death awaits us all—we just don’t know the how, the place or the exact time, and it can happen when you least expect it. Only the Creator Alone knows when, where or how.
Remember that always, and to the posthumous memories of Kobe and the others who perished in that crash last Sunday morning, I reverently and respectfully offer, “Rest in Peace.” For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”