A Passion and a Purpose A Reflection on the Life of Steve Irwin
by Karen Jimmy
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A great Australian icon passed away this last Monday, September 4th 2006.
Steve Irwin, aka "the Crocodile Hunter", was a man whose passion and enthusiasm were matched by few others. He knew why he was placed on this earth, and he didn't let go of that calling for one second. Like a dog with a bone, he hung on to his mandate and spread his message around wherever there was opportunity.
Here's what Steve had to say in his own words about his life's mission:
"My heart beats for wildlife and wilderness conservation - it's my mission in life. Terri and I are determined to make sure we do everything we can to safeguard Australia's - and the world's - wild animals and their habitats."
(Steve Irwin, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, wildlifewarriors.org.au)
Over the past couple of days since Steve Irwin was tragically killed by a stingray off the North Queensland coast, I've been watching all the stories about him on TV and in the papers. The more I watch, the more I'm impressed, inspired and challenged by this man's sure-footed pursuit of his goals and ideals.
It's left me thinking- hard- about my own passion. What drives me? What inspires me? Am I even living? I look at this man on my TV screen, so full of life and so vibrant. Then in my mind's eye, I picture what I must look like to those who see me every day. Am I an inspiration? Am I a light in the darkness, a voice for the voiceless? Am I even enthusiastic about anything at all?
I, who say my life has been transformed by Christ, so often walk around in a daze, letting life just drift on by. Though I love to quote poetic catchcries like "Carpe Diem", I frequently miss opportunities rather than grabbing them in the manner that Steve Irwin would. More often than not, I am so nonchalant that I sit in my deckchair as an opportunity goes by. I look at it, and go "Oh look, there goes another opportunity...", before sighing, shrugging and taking another sip of my peach iced tea. I read a lot about seizing the day and grabbing each day by the horns and sucking the marrow out of life, making my life count for something etc...but all the reading in the world is for nothing if it doesn't get me off my deckchair.
I was never really a fanatical follower of Steve Irwin, though whenever I did see him on TV I thought he was a great guy with lots of energy. But over the past couple of days, that guy has knocked my off my comfortable perch, and I don't think I'll ever be the same.
There's a song I like by gutter-punk evangelical band "No Longer Music" that goes like this:
"I was made for more than this, clench my mind into a fist...
It's not an open palm for you to drop your lies into
So BACK OFF, this is your wake-up call
I won't lie down, I won't be a fool
I will not live for your compromise, compromising existence."
Someone I greatly respect prayed for me one time and said that he could see a picture in his mind of me chasing after the lost and lonely and hurting, "like a rat up a drainpipe". He said he could see me flitting all over the place like a bird that won't sit still, going here, there and everywhere, chasing people down.
For a while, I lived like that. I was so passionate about reaching out to people that I was always devising different strategies for doing just that. I was off on every opportunity to make an impact on someone's life. But it's easy to forget that kind of passion and let lies sneak into our thinking and steer us away from the Reason we are here.
Steve Irwin was passionate about wildlife, about conservation and the environment. His death has caused me to really take stock of what I cherish, what I want to achieve while I am here on planet earth.
How about you? Will you allow yourself to be compromised (Crikey!) and veer away from the path you're called to walk upon, or will you grab the bull-croc by the jaw and wrangle it till the job is done?
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hi kaz.... great piece and a fitting tribute to a truly unique aussie. i miss you too girl....and am praying that our lord directs you and yours up here soon...too the sun,sand and salt water...blessings old kazza..
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