The beautiful tennis player with long blond hair was winning. But not by much. On the other side of the net, a spunky, dark-haired Italian was holding her own with moves more contorted than graceful. This was Wimbledon.
Back and forth. The blond pulled ahead, only for the Italian to catch her. The sportscasters sided with the blond for technical superiority. Yet they couldn’t discount the heart of the underdog.
Tennis games are way too long. We didn’t see how the contest ended. We were on vacation and the beach was calling.
Secretly I hoped the dark-haired girl would win. How many more beautiful blond tennis champions do we need really? Yes, we have Venus and Serena. But an Italian tennis queen. Bellissimo!
Today I identify with that girl more than I would like, and not just because of my Italian heritage.
BAM! The serve. Extensive travel in June.
SWACK! The return. Intensive upheaval back in St. Louis.
SLAP! A high lob. Close on the sale of our house.
CRACK! Another return. Move everything we own and downsize.
POW! The slam. Normalize only to set up for more changes.
In the middle of the game, I’m about to hit the wall.
My husband says I’ve simply run out of adrenaline. The synapses are shot. The serotonin took a nose dive, suffered a concussion, and is sitting out indefinitely.
Bad habits are back. I organize stuff, rather than stake out precious time to work. My husband works until the wee hours, rather than stake out precious time to sleep. My son is not eating enough (any) vegetables. And my inner critic has reclaimed the judge’s seat.
This is no time to quit. It’s precisely the time to keep hitting. The goal is within reach, even if the goal is to make it to dinner with all family members intact. One step, one second at a time. The most crucial moment could come in the next match. Or the next serve. You can’t win if you don’t play.
Break it down. Back to the basics like Elijah in his cave. Rest, eat, breathe, listen. Or like Hannah in the temple. Dust yourself off, clean yourself up, nourish yourself well. Come out swinging like Sampson. Or a certain Italian tennis player who just wouldn’t quit.
Ask for help from the One who never quits. The One whose strength has no end. Lord, help me persevere with grace instead of criticism, humor instead of depression, hope instead of despair. Amen.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV
C’mon and rock with me now to a little bit o’ TobyMac, won’t you? Get Back Up!