Be a winner. That’s what American’s have been saying for most of the country’s history.
This might be changing, as more and more it seems that no one is supposed to rise above the crowd. I think the US has seen a seismic shift is attitude during my lifetime. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan is probably the last vestiges of it.
On a personal level, I am trying to see myself as a winner. Circumstantially though, this is becoming more and more difficult.
Sometimes I think I am cursed.
Right now I am borrowing a friend’s expensive set of wheels. As I was driving to the bank this morning, one that was grey and gloomy with a mix of rain and snow, I noticed that the upholstery along the windshield on both sides was rumpled. It even looked a bit wet.
I began to panic, wondering what in the world I could have done to cause this, if anything. Even if I didn’t, I know how it is when you borrow something. As one guy told me when he tossed me his keys years ago, “You wreck it. You own it.” (And I was helping this guy move.)
The issue of borrowed property reminds me of a story in the Bible. A group of men were cutting down trees along a river when the axe head of one of the fellows broke off and flew into the water.
He looked at the prophet Elisha, who had accompanied the men on their wood cutting trip, and said “Alas, master, it was borrowed.”
The prophet asked where the axe head was located in the river, and when the man told him, Elisha threw a stick into the water at that location. The axe head rose to the top of the water.
I never took physics in school, but I know enough that I am aware that a piece of iron does not float.
I feel like I need such miracles in my life because it seems that whatever my hand touches, the results are terrible. Just read my last two blog posts about an important project I was working on. It fell apart.
That’s not the first time this has happened. I recall as a young man I worked very hard writing a marketing piece for a product. I even won an award for it. Sadly, the product never sold.
I really hate working on things that lack no purpose.
I don’t believe in luck or fate, but sometimes I wonder. Last night is an example of how I feel things turn out for me.
I was on a mini-vacation and decided to take in a major league baseball game. I drove to the park hours early.
On the way I ran into a humongous traffic jam in town-on a Sunday no less! It took me an hour to get to my destination.
I was not familiar with the area around the ballpark and drove around looking for parking lots, only to find that they wanted huge amounts of money to deposit my car.
I asked a young woman who seemed to be getting ready to direct traffic where I could park cheaply. She asked her coworker. He said, “You’re in the high rent district.”
When I told him I was going to just drive outside of town and take the subway in, he noted the difference in price, making gestures as he did so. We both laughed.
As I drove on the freeway leaving town, the traffic was still heavy. I managed to get off at a metro stop and park my car in what seemed like a safe location–for free no less.
I had a little trouble buying a subway card because the machine didn’t offer clear directions, but I managed. Finally, I arrived at the park.
I would describe my seat as being in the nosebleed section, except it was so cold last night that if my nose did bleed, the blood would have frozen. There was a bitter wind too. One of the outfielders even wore a facial scarf.
I decided to go down on the lower levels and just watch the game from the concourse. Between breaks in the innings, I walked to the rest room to warm up.
After three innings, I had had enough and left. All I wanted to do was to get warm. Lots of time, travel and expense for little return.
Even on the micro level, I felt like things didn’t work out at the game. I was filming the home team’s best player at bat, a surefire Hall of Famer when he retires, when I stopped. He then hit a home run. I regretted I didn’t catch it on film.
Finally, I decided to leave. The opposing team had the bases loaded. I didn’t care because I was pulling for the home team.
As I walked away, I heard the crowd react. The opponent’s own potential Hall of Famer had hit a Grand Slam. I walked toward the train with a huge regret that I had missed it.
To me, that’s what losers do. They miss out. It seems to me it happens a lot in my case. I not only miss good photos, though. This morning someone drove into a prime parking space I had spotted just as I aimed toward it.
What occurred next was an object lesson for me. I found an even better one.
When I look back at the ball game, I also found some positives. I figured I had shown perseverance to even get to that game, and despite only seeing a bit of it and missing the Grand Slam, I had ventured into a fairly new ball park I had never been to before and got to experience all the sights and sounds.
I also have figured that in God’s economy, winning and losing may look different than it does from the human race’s perspective. After all, things didn’t look too good for Jesus when he was on a cross being crucified.
What mankind didn’t know at that point is that Jesus’s death resulted in the salvation of all of mankind. Not only that, but His story didn’t finish there.
He rose again from the dead, providing a pathway for all of those who follow Him to do the same.
I spent a lot of my weekend pondering the meaning of my lost project which, as I have noted, I discussed in my last two posts.. I thought of the passage in Job where the title character, after losing his possessions and kids, said in mourning, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I read several commentataries on that passage and they were mixed. Some took what Job said as an exclamation praising God for His wise providence.
Others claim that Job was theologically unsound. Those authors noted that God is not the author of evil and doesn’t sanction things like the death of our children.
I don’t know where I come down on the subject, except that I do believe that God is good. He can fix messed up upholstery. Further, He can turn missed opportunities and lost projects or parking spaces into blessings.
I shall wait and see what develops, and try to keep trusting God with my circumstances. It is all I can do.
Whether I am a winner or loser in the eyes of people doesn’t really matter. All that really matters is that I get a “Well done good and faithful servant” when I meet up with Jesus after this life is over.