This past Sunday I turned 25. A quarter of a century. A time when my auto insurance as a US male driver should dramatically drop. A milestone, to be sure, and definitely a time of reflection. But this sunday another dramatic event took place.
Ben Breedlove, an 18 year old senior at Westlake High School in Austin, TX, passed away.
I'm not going to lie. I didn't know Ben Breedlove personally. The initial reason I was made aware of his death was because specific people of whom I went to church with, the same church Ben attended, were posting the news on facebook. The second reason I was made aware was the fact that Ben's death didn't just affect those in the greater Austin area, but the entire world; including Kid Cudi.
Reason being, Ben posted these two videos less than a week before he died:
Just yesterday I watched his funeral streamed live from Gateway Church; which was requested by Ben's father, who wanted all of Ben's youtube fans to have the chance to attend. (Ben was also gave out dating advice to girls on two popular youtube channels.) I was moved by the story his sister Ally shared as well as the memorium that the pastor John Burke presented. I was especially inspired by the theme that came out of it:
"This life is our gift to God, and Eternal Life is His gift to us."
Ben Breedlove has inspired countless. People all over the world have taken notice of this young kid from Austin Texas. There is no telling how many lives might be changed because of Ben's story alone. This is the kind of stuff that really makes you wonder about your own life; especially while attending a memorial.
This is not the first time I have been affected by a funeral.
When I was 15 I attended the funeral of a childhood friend, classmate, and fellow soccer player of the high school team. I was afterwards invited to a church youth group by some other classmates of mine. It changed my life. I never left. I finally began to understand what it meant to follow Jesus.
Now - nearly ten years later - as I tune in to the story of a boy who died on my 25th birthday, I question myself as to what exactly I've been doing with my life up till now. What exactly have I been pouring my heart into? What are my priorities? How have I inspired others? It would have been one thing to look back on a quarter century as is, but when you add such an amazing story such as Bens to think about/compare to, it really does put things in a different perspective - and it is slightly unfair in a funny kind of way.
I also wonder if this boy, had he lived past 18 years old, graduated high school, and decided to join the college group at Gateway Church of which I claim to be a leader, would have been a friend.
Thank you Ben, for your life, and I can only hope to be half as inspiring as you someday.