While we are promised that this broken world will be paved with affliction and hardship, few tragedies can compare to the sudden death of a spouse.
Nobody could be more familiar with that heart-wrenching loss than former NFL player Tommie Harris, who opened up about his wife Ashley’s death on BET’s Super Bowl Gospel Celebration earlier this month.
Just 41 short days after saying “I do,” his ‘forever’ was cut tragically short when Ashley suffered a fatal brain aneurysm.
“About five years ago, I lost my wife to a brain aneurysm,” Harris told the crowd. “And I remember sitting in an auditorium just like you were in Indianapolis, and me and her were sitting here and I was watching a man come up there also talk about how he lost his wife. As I was sitting there in the audience, I was only married for 30 days at that moment… and I didn’t know 11 days later, I would lose my wife.”
That moment has been permanently seared into his brain, as he reflects on just how precious our time on this earth is, and just how little we know about how much of it we have.
Not even Harris’ millions of dollars worth of savings from his NFL career could buy his wife one more second.
“I had something like $25 million in the bank when I lost Ashley, and not one dollar had been able to help her,” he wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “If it could have, I would have given every last cent to save my wife.”
“She showed me that a Christian is more than a word it’s a way of life. The whole time we were together I thought I was teaching her but I’ve realized I was the student she was the teacher. (Facebook)”
“Life is short” and “live life to the fullest” often sound like nothing more than cliché bumper stickers… until the moment you watch the love of your life breathe her final breath. Then it’s real, then it’s tangible—and somehow more worthy of being shouted at the top of your lungs for anyone willing to listen to the truth they were so sure they already knew.
And that’s exactly what Harris did, as the auditorium of onlookers sat transfixed on his story:
“Death is a thing that happens in life, it’s not a thing that happens to life, so my job is to go and tell everyone that is living to make life count,” proclaimed the former NFL star. “I don’t care what it is. As you breathe today, when was the last time you took a big deep breathe? As I pulled my wife’s monitor off and she took her last one… Right now, take a deep one. Let it out. As long as you have that in your body, you’ve got the Brady effect. At any moment, I’ve got time on the clock, I can come back at any moment! I know things happen in my life, but I can make a change at any moment.”
After opening up about his Greatest Loss in a feature story with The Players’ Tribune last year, one may have expected that Harris’ speech would be marked by a tone of defeat and woe—but the outspoken Christian took quite the opposite attitude as he delivered his powerful take-home message:
“I came here to encourage all of you that are going through a difficult time, that trouble doesn’t last always. I’ve never seen a cloud sit over one person’s house for a long time – this too shall pass – it has to!” he exclaimed.
Harris closed by echoing the bold promise of Psalm 30:5:
“We’ve been made to endure the night, but our joy will come in the morning.”
His gripping words of encouragement have made waves across the Internet, amassing nearly 10 million views since they were posted on Facebook. Watch Harris’ powerful message of perseverance and hope in the video below:
After being married for only 41 Days #3XProBowler #BearsLegend Tommie Harris lost his Wife… LISTEN to what he has to say #SuperBowlGospel……#MakeLifeCOUNT 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 The Tyra Hill Show Approves THIS MESSAGE ✊🏽😘
Posted by Tyra Hill on Sunday, February 4, 2018