The Story

The story behind Live Full, Live Free.

I woke this morning to the news that she had died. A few thousand miles away in a city, I’d never been too. A sixteen-year-old girl I’d never met had gently passed from this world into the next. Leukaemia had destroyed her body, slowly and relentlessly until it couldn’t go on.

Her name is Katie. Not was, is, and always will be. She’s the daughter of a friend of my wife. She’s also the same age as my daughter. I guess that’s what has hit me the most. I spent most of this morning listening to the song “No longer slaves” on repeat and quietly weeping.

Hard questions came to mind. Why Katie? Why not my daughter? It seems so random, a roll of the dice, or a stroke of luck. What about her sister? Her mum? Her dad? How are they coping today?

Questions that I know have no answers, at least, no satisfactory ones. Our platitudes, Instagram quotes and tritely spoken bible verses are woefully inadequate in the face of such loss.

What then? What do we do? Do we follow Job’s wife and “curse God and die?” Do we curl up under a duvet desperately seeking safety and comfort that is both unachievable and incompatible with this world we live in?

This morning, driving to the office listening to the same song over and over, I had a sort of answer. At least it’s an answer that seems good today while I gaze into the shadow of death. As I was getting close to the office, I noticed a car parked on the side of the road. It was a bright orange Porsche.

I’m sure there have been times in my past when I would’ve made a swift judgement on the bright orange car. Frivolous. Wasteful. The money could’ve been better off spent on the poor. But not today. Today I glimpsed mortality and loss and pain. And I thought….

Stuff it.

If you can, and you want to, buy the Porsche. Buy it and drive it fast with the roof down and the wind in your hair.

Life is so painfully short. A vapour. There is so much in our world that is difficult and hard, there is loss and sorrow and tears. It can be overwhelming. Yet the thought that dropped into my waking mind this morning as I saw that bright orange Porsche was,

Live Full, live Free

It seems to be the heartbeat of Jesus.
“I’ve come that you would have an abundant life.”
“Who the Son sets free is free, indeed.”

I’m committed now, more than ever. The pain won’t make me curl up and in a ball or shrink into cynicism. I won’t harden my heart and seek to avoid all risk for a life of comfort and safety. I’ve made a choice, live full, live free.

My name is Owen. I’m a husband, father, church leader and writer. Amongst many other things. Live Full, Live Free is a home for my writing. Here you will find my thoughts on honest leadership and our inherent creativity. You’ll also be able to read my stumbling attempts at poetry and my ongoing journey with Ariella.