The big, and very sad news around New Zealand right now is the loss of one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting legends. Jonah Lomu passed away yesterday at the age of 40. He left this life early in the morning, after a long and public battle with an aggressive kidney disease.
The nation is subdued and hearts and thoughts are with his beautiful wife Nadene and her young children.
The pain she must be feeling is something I cannot fathom. They were a team just as Steve and I are. She was his manager, partner, cheerleader, wife and part of a dedicated team that was raising their children.
She is conducting herself with grace and decorum, and the nation is responding by outpourings of Love, respect, and condolences. This is all happening while still giving her the space and privacy she needs and deserves at this unthinkable time.
New Zealand is a nation of Grace.
Thousands of Kiwis have a story of meeting Jonah, Dan Carter, Buck Shelford, Lorde, or any number of Kiwi celebrities. Kiwis generally know how to give people space and let them live their lives and manage the ups and downs without being bombarded or encroached upon.
The vast majority of stories that are recounted are beautiful. Our living legends are humble, and our public works very hard to give them space and know that there is a time and a place for everything, including approaching people they admire, and knowing when it is time to give them privacy.
When I was 18 years old, living in Taranaki, the All Blacks came to the school where my mother taught. I got to meet him and chat for a good long time. He was gracious, and attentive and HUGE! Not just physically massive, but he had a presence, humility and grace that struck me as impressive then, and hits me in the heartstrings now.
So if you have honoured me by taking the time to read this, I’d like to thank you.
It is in the hands of each and every one of us to act with grace when we are dealing with people in personal, professional or public capacities.
I guess that’s all I have to say about this today.
I wish you the grace and peace to manage the ups and downs in your own life. And I am honoured to be a part of a nation filled with humility and respect for our public figures, and the many international people who make this their home or playground.
Go out there and be kind and gracious whenever the opportunity arises. And appreciate the stuffing out of the people you Love. We never know what is around the corner.