I’m not much of a hockey fan, but I do keep track of the Montreal Canadiens. That means, like fans of the other National Hockey League teams he coached (the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils), I was saddened by the death of Pat Burns in 2010.
I was impressed with the former cop’s tough-guy approach which rallied my Habs, then went on to rally the Leafs before finally winning a Stanley Cup with the Devils. Burns wasn’t an NHL player who was handed a coaching career; he worked his way up the ranks with determination.
He was weakened, gaunt and admitting the end was not far off when the Toronto Star’s Rosie Dimanno wrote a wonderful column about him. In it, she mentioned a recent interview in which Burns, 58, “spoke even about a newly realized appreciation for religious faith, because a person gets to thinking about God and prayer and the hereafter when staring straight into the abyss.”
This stuck with me, because the majority of my life is now behind me. That certainly changes a person’s perspective and I’m glad to have come to an “appreciation for religious faith” without having to stare into the “abyss” first.
That may not seem important to some folks. They’re busy with family or careers or pursuing fame or riches at the gambling table or extreme sports. The list can go on and on.
And yet, even in wealthy North America, with our massive healthcare systems and long lifespans – much longer than the age of Pat Burns – the end can come upon us with the shock of a shovel in the stomach.
I didn’t need such a shock to be reminded of that fact. I just read a ‘tweet’ on Twitter from Rick Warren (he wrote a book you may have heard of, The Purpose Driven Life) that simply stated, “When I’m tempted to be prideful, I just remind myself that I cannot even guarantee my next breath.”
That’s right, folks. It doesn’t matter if you’re battling cancer like Pat Burns did, or you’re a disgustingly young and fit triathlete. The end can come before you finish reading this sentence.
I think Jesus Christ (who most Christians, and many others as well, believe is the son of God) knew this. That’s why, in the Bible, he told his followers, “Don’t hoard treasure down here, where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
It seems to me that if our “treasure” is in the right place, then the end won’t be an “abyss”. In fact, it won’t be the end at all. It will just be the end of the beginning.
Do you agree? Yes or no, post your response below and let’s have a conversation.