Whenever I speak to a group of people who live with chronic illness and/or pain, I like to use the analogy of our patient-hood as an athletic pursuit. Yes, we are athletes! Besides being like the Apostle Paul, who “ran the race” of living and spreading the Gospel despite great hardship, our health challenges make living like a contest – us against frustration, fatigue, and feeling bad.
As part of this athlete way of thinking, I encourage everyone to look to a sport for inspiration. My sport is tennis. I used to play a lot, and I really enjoy watching professional tennis, especially men’s and women’s singles. The game is very gruelling nowadays, and those who excel at it are truly amazing – most of all the older players, the ‘geezers,’ as I’m fond of calling them. And currently, they are making news at the Australian Open, the first major tournament of the 2013 season.
It used to be that you were ‘over-the-hill’ as a professional tennis player by the time you were in your early 20s. Now, the average age is 27 for both men and women, and some players who are in their 30s are winning matches and tournaments. And, most amazing of all, at this year’s Australian Open, 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm from Japan is into the third round. She’s playing against women half her age – and she’s winning! And teaching the rest of us some valuable lessons in perseverence.
We’re never too old to pursue a dream, strive for excellence, or take part in an activity that’s long been the ‘playground’ of youth. Never, that is, as long as we prepare, take care of health and wellness, and maintain a positive attitude and desire for using the gifts God has given each of us. Skill, technique, and natural ability have something to do with it, of course. But there’s also something to be said for the wisdom that comes with experience and the strength we gain from determination developed over time. We might have to recraft what we want to do to accommodate our illness and the limitations it might pose (goes back to taking care of health and welness). But we can be inspired to go for our dreams – and inspire others as we show that we are still ‘running the race’ of Paul and letting our light shine!
So, let’s hear it for the geezers! Let’s hear it for us!
Blessings for the day,