Monday, May 26, 2008

Make Your Life Count!

My son Chris, skating today.

Today in Bermuda, a marathon takes place. Local athletes as well as those from other countries come to participate in the race. People line our narrow roads, some on folding chairs, some sitting on stone walls, waiting for the moment when they can cheer on the runners. It's quite a big deal. This year, something a little different happened as well.

Because we have no ice rink here, Inline Roller Hockey substitutes for the ice hockey many Canadians and Americans miss when they move to the island. Roller hockey has been going strong for years. My son started playing when he was about six. His dad, good Canadian that he is, took great pride in taking Chris to a sports store in Toronto that year to get him geared up in helmet, skates, protective wear and of course, the hockey stick. It was almost as exciting as it would have been if we were living in Canada and he was starting ice hockey. I'm happy it's roller hockey, as it's not nearly as violent, and there are no 5am practices to get him out the door for!

Last month, we lost the man who was one of the founding members of our roller hockey league. He died of a heart attack while playing on the rink. He was only 42.
Today, hundreds of kids donned their roller blades and hit the streets on Bermuda to skate for Tom. His vision to expand the skate facilities here on the island will live on, and many will 'Realize the Dream' in his honor.
He was an individual who poured himself out for others. He gave countless hours to kids in coaching, organizing and helping them see that there are better things to do on a Saturday than sit around watching television.

Although his death is devastating and tragic, his life counted for something.
I'm sure he did not wake up every day wondering what he could do to make a difference - maybe he did - but how many of us really stop to think about what we're doing?
If your life ended today, would you have made a difference?
I'm thinking about this.
I don't know that I would have had such a profound impact on society as Tom McNeil clearly did, but I do hope that in some way, I make a difference in the lives of those I come in contact with.
I hope I can listen first, speak later. I hope I can look through a person's smile and see their hidden pain. I hope they can trust me enough to tell me about it.
I really hope that one day the words I write will reach the hands of those who need to read it.
I want to entertain, but more importantly, I want to minister.
I want them to know the Truth.
That through Christ, ALL things are possible.
I want Him to impact them, and if I can be a part of that process, then I will have lived well.

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful things we will endure, but part of the healing is being able to look back with pride at who they were and what they did while they were here.
Maybe if we all lived life searching for ways to give back rather than take, to love instead of argue, to care about our society and care enough to actually want to make a difference, our world would be a better place.

I thank God for people like Tom, who truly did care, and made a difference.


Rebecca said...

An amazing tribute to a man who so obviously made a difference to the community he was a part of. and you - well your words are already making a difference to people.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks for reminding us that making a difference is what it's all about. I didn't realize how much one person can touch so many lives until the death of my first wife. Afterward, hundreds of people shared how she'd blessed them. I suppose it's really true: "Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
I'll be thinking about making a difference in the days to come. I appreciate your jogging my consciencel