A New Year, A New Lease on Life – a Salute to Kristian Anderson

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Have you ever had a defining moment, where you feel momentum slow down around you as the world seems to graciously stop for just a second to let you grasp something undeniably profound; a revelation perhaps, that seems to challenge you at your very core? And then before you can blink you're yanked back into the flustering pace of reality almost fast enough for you to overlook the beauty you just received, but somehow you know your whole world has shifted just slightly and will never be the same again.

I had a moment like this only recently. In the very early days of this New Year I attended a funeral to celebrate and honour the life of Kristian Anderson. You may not have heard about this man or you may have seen some of the media surrounding his story; his is a story worth hearing about! To be honest, I only knew Kristian through my husband, as they were friends. I had gotten to know his beautiful wife Rachel only briefly over the years and we all went to the same church. In his passing, I (and I am sure many others) learnt a lot more about his life, his character than when he was still with us.

At just 36 years old, Kristian left this earth after a 2-year battle with bowel cancer. His funeral had an atmosphere of mixed emotions, from beauty and inspiration to sorrow and pain. Despite the universal feeling that Kristian's life was too short, his legacy brought hope and impassioned a new perspective on my own life.

We are all but a blink in the midst of eternity. Life is beyond fragile. Kristian's passion, strength, character and resilience to fight, love, put 110% into anything he did and his ability to keep moving forward despite his circumstances, taught me something that day. If he can do it whilst lying on his death bed, then I, being healthy and young, can too.

I used to have an unfailing passion for the things I loved and believed in. I remember the days when I was unshaken by my own circumstances, to love and behold life's beauty. I remember numerous times where my passion grew dim and I slowly faded into a mere shadow of the woman I knew I could be. I remember the long journey towards rebuilding myself after those encounters with deception. Yet as I sat at Kristian's funeral, I realised that the strength of my youthful (maybe naive) passion had never fully returned to me. That day I felt altered.

After being completely marvelled in that moment, I went home and thought about all the things I was once endlessly passionate about. I thought about all the times I was told to 'calm down' and realised something. At one point in my life, my young self mistakenly learnt that I needed to apologise for my exuberance, my passion. She thought she needed to change that part of her to fit in better with her surroundings. Yet in this life-changing instant, I knew that I had been simply living in a mode of defence, trying to numb the feelings of (what I thought were) rejection.

The truth is everyone gets knocked back, disqualified, criticised and blamed. No one is better than any body else yet everyone has the potential to rise up and be a better person. It is how we respond to the accusations life throws at us, that interpret who we are. I had reacted the wrong way, letting those moments weaken me, when I should have held responsibility for my temperament and taken the time to grow, understand and strengthen my qualities.

This year I am going to make it a goal to re-learn my passion, figure out how to harness my vigour and use it for all things beneficial to my life, my family and friends. Thank you Kristian for touching so many lives with your fervency and ability to see the light in every situation.

Love Heids Xx