Monday, September 04, 2006

"Crocodile Hunter" Dead at 44

I'm not much for watching TV, but I always watched Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter." You may have now heard about his tragic accidental death while filming for a new program.

John Stainton,friend and colleague of Irwin on the boat at the time of Irwin's death, said, "He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart."

He could've survived the stingray's barb, but not when it impaled his heart. There are already poles up asking, "Was Irwin brave or reckless?" And some will say, "Well, he did some pretty crazy things, what do you expect?" Others around the world who were fans will mourn and say, "It shouldn't have happened." We are truly sad that he will not be here any longer for yet another adventure.

I think our fascination with Irwin started with his obvious delight and love of the "wild" and of that uncertainty with wild animals. He's like the Evel Knievel of this generation. And he was all about "saving" creatures who would take your hand or head off without remorse. He lived fully, the way he wanted to, as with the delight of a child with a new toy. That was the way he loved, lived and died. We loved that about him. While maybe we wouldn't want to swim with stingrays, or capture crocodiles to put them somewhere "safe," we loved it that he was passionate about his job and the life he lived. We long to have those passions in our own lives, too. I mourn that Steve didn't outwit the odds and live to be old. I'm sad that his wife, Terri, and his children, won't have him around anymore.

Most of us live "safe" lives--or we think we do. In actuality we are never safe in this life, despite our precautions. While it is good to practice safe health habits and not do "stupid" things, (and some might even argue that Irwin was "stupid" but I would disagree,)we should live our lives fully as if in the next minute we were going to breathe our last breath. Because we might not live another minute, despite eating "right," living "right," or being "righteous," we need to reach for our dreams and be joyful in our lives that we've been given, no matter what our circumstances. Jesus said that "even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:30 NIV)That means several things--1. we are so precious to God, He knows us intimately. 2. We are finite. 3. He is watching out for us with a studied eye. God numbered our days, and life on earth for any one of us could end any time.

Steve Irwin didn't know when he would leave this earth, but he wasn't going to do it before he experienced the things that brought him joy. Mary Lou Retton in her book (with David Bender,) Gateways to Happiness says, "True joy and contentment are within reach for all of us, no matter how bad our circumstances seem." It is something to believe and practice.

And all of this is why, I think, we liked Steve Irwin so much. As they say in old westerns, "He died with his boots on."

Here's to you, Steve.

For an interesting perspective on What Next? check out Joanne Brokaw's piece at

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Oh, it hurt my heart to hear the news yesterday. I think we all loved that guy. Thanks for a poignant post.

Would love for you to visit my fairly new writerly site sometime. Be sure to comment so I'll know you were there:-)

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