Monday, August 13, 2007

wrestling

I’m into wrestling lately it would seem. I’m not referring to the “men in tights”, thrashing around on a big mat, type of wrestling. I’m also not referring to the chair on the head, cage match to the death, arena lights and fog machines, pseudo rock star world of the WWF. It’s a more personal form of wrestling. It’s like shadow wrestling if there was such a thing. Most of us deal with it. Some of us deny it and still others are treated for it.
The opponent is a formidable one to be sure. Everyone has, is, or will face him. In my life, I’ll just call the opponent “the point”. Some would call him “purpose”. You may call him "meaning". Whatever the name, the contest is the same.
I refer to it as wrestling because I know the feelings, emotional and physical that are attached to a real life wrestling match. Unknown to most, except those who have known me from childhood, is the deep secret that I was once a person of the mat. I was actually fairly good at it. In my short tenure I was only beaten once. I have ribbons packed away to prove it. If I had continued, it may have transformed into a “men in tights” kind of thing. The very thought of that possibility still makes me cringe. Anyway, as I said, I was only beaten once. That one defeat is important because it wasn’t just defeat. I seem to recall that I was soundly thrashed. It is that feeling that still lingers at times when I get into wrestling mode with “the point”. It is an, on your back, bridging to keep your shoulders up, counting referee and screaming spectator, anxiety that tells you that you must gain control or you’ll be hearing the slap on the mat signal to the end of the match.
Now to be honest, for me, wrestling with “the point” doesn’t have quite the same dire consequences that being pinned would have to a middle school boy. It’s more of a flooding of signals all screaming for attention and my seeking to address the one move which will put me back on top of “the point”. But what is that one move?
For those of you who haven’t experienced the exhilaration of a public wrestling match, I need to tell you that in the midst of your contest you will be receiving all sorts of advice as to just which move you should make. These are all well meaning suggestions of course, but the truth of the matter is that most of them are coming from women and overweight, out of shape men whom obviously haven’t had the opportunity to actually wrestle in quite some time. They mean well, but since they are not actually in your tights, their advice is just not the same as being there. It’s not much different when you wrestle with “the point”. There is no lack of suggestions from well intentioned bystanders and not so well intentioned marketers. I can, in fact, right from my window this morning, tell you what the various advertising, within sight of my table, has to say about what the next move should be. I just now put down a professional magazine which struck me as being full of suggestions for what my next move might be.
I know “the point” that has been set before me quite well. I am one of the lucky ones who have a fairly good understanding of it in my own life. The Author of my story has written me in fairly clearly to the pastoral arts field. It’s not really the what of “the point” that I wrestle with from time to time, it’s more of the how. You may be in the same conflict.
I don’t have any advice. I may have spent time in my own tights, but not yours. All I can say is don’t give up. Somewhere, locked inside your experience, the Author of your life has written a move which will put you on top of your match. I didn’t say that you’d win. Neither you or I will experience the ultimate outcome until the Referee calls an end to the match. My one defeat may have been a sound thrashing, but I was never pinned and I never gave up. And I went on to win my next one before calling it quits. It’s best to finish on top.

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