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The Day Kobe Died

The news was everywhere: Kobe Bryant and his younger daughter died in a helicopter crash in Southern California. Even if you don’t follow basketball, you’ve heard his name, and you probably know something of his amazing skill as a professional athlete. No one questions the fact that Kobe was one of the greatest basketball players of all time.


Here’s the part of my story you didn’t hear on the news: I flew in a helicopter just hours after Kobe’s crash. Laura and I were getting ready to leave for the heliport on the Big Island when the news broke that Kobe’s helicopter had crashed into the side of a mountain.



My first thought was sadness for Kobe, his wife, friends, and family. All life matters, but sometimes death seems to come too early and is senseless. The pilot never should have taken off. Due to rain and fog, LAPD helicopters and most other local air traffic were grounded.


My second thought was something I am more keenly aware of than ever at my age: Life is short and precious. Too many of my heroes have died early in their lives in tragic accidents. Men like Keith Green, Roy Hicks, Jr., and Rich Mullins left this earth for heaven too soon.


However, here is something I didn’t think or feel—fear. Yes, all life matters, and certainly, all life is relatively short and of great value, but no life should be lived in fear.



Living bound by anxiety and dread is no life at all.


I am not encouraging recklessness or foolishness. Again, life is too precious to live only for the rush of adrenaline. Make good choices. Live with wisdom as your companion. Don’t live on the edge just to prove you’re not afraid of death.


But in life, leadership, and frankly, even in all relationships, there is risk. No one is bulletproof. No one is guaranteed their next breath. And no one can live in a bubble and truly call it living.


So, get out of bed and get out of your comfort zone.


Take the chance that you might crash, fall, or fail.


Choose to love, even though you might get hurt.


Try something new and different.


Yep, get on that plane or the helicopter.


Why? Because an abundant life is never lived watching safely from the bleachers (or the ground).



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Kurt W. Bubna published his first book with Tyndale in 2013 and has published six other books. Bubna is an internationally recognized blogger, a conference and retreat speaker, and an experienced leadership coach. Kurt is also the Founding Pastor of Eastpoint Church, a non-denominational congregation in Spokane Valley, Washington. He and his wife, Laura, married in 1975, have four grown children, and ten grandchildren.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jules

    Thank you for sharing, wisdom!

  2. Dawn Altmaier

    Thank you for the message. 🙂

  3. Jim

    That is the BEST pic of you and Laura!

  4. Annie

    Thank you Kurt. The timeley -ness of your writing is even more poignant than you may know. God is so good and so amazing! Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Debbie Knabb

    Good word Pastor Kurt. There is no fear when we’re heaven bound..

  6. TK Firestone

    Awesome you guys! Do what God inspires you to do and don’t worry about appearances or anything else! Waaaaoooooooo! That’s the way to live. And yeah, I’ve been in those tiny mosquitos called inter-island helicopters… uh… they’re scary on a calm day… Great time to make a believable point. 🙂

  7. Momma

    Ok I’ll try

  8. Sue B

    Right on!

  9. Moe

    Thank you Kurt. Very well spoken. Much love your way.

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