Hope Talk



The article caught my eye.  “Kwan Spins Silver Into Gold.”    USA Today began its cover article on Michelle Kwan by saying that she was was skating rings around other skaters in the tons of money she was pocketing in endorsements.    Of the top 10 athletic endorsers of the year, only one woman made the list.  Kwan.   She even ranked ahead of basketball’s Magic Johnson!  So why does she hold the whole world of million-dollar endorsements in her 19-year-old hands?  Despite the fact that she has never won an Olympic gold medal? Chiefly because of her performance off the ice at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.  Though she was the odds-on favorite to win the gold, she was upset by Tara Lipinsky when Tara performed a combination triple loop, the first in Olympic history.  Immediately after the gold-winning scores were posted, the TV cameras turned to Kwan. She was smiling! And when interviewed, she spoke graciously of the contest. “Her style and grace in losing overpowered Tara’s winning,” said Rick Burton, sports marketing professor at the University of Oregon. The manner in which she lost the gold, transcended her winning it!  She smiled! 

So how do you handle failure, disappointment?   Add to the example of Michelle Kwan that of Charlie Brown.  This loveable loser created by Charles Schulz was forever dropping the ball, picking the ugliest Christmas tree, falling flat on his back when trying to kick the football “held” by Lucy.  Walter Cronkite who hosted a TV tribute to Charles Schulz and his comic strip characters, concluded the hour-long program by saying that the essence of the strip was hope, as seen in Charlie Brown.  He was forever losing.  But he never gave up hope.  He just kept on trying.

Smile.  Hope. And brush yourself off and move on,  we learn from Jesus.  It was the disciples first solo mission.  After holding school on them,  Jesus told them to go to surrounding homes, knock on doors, tell the folks they had come to preach good news, then heal their sick, raise their dead.  Incredibly, some people hearing this wonderful offer slammed the door in their faces! Now when that happens, having failed, having done your very best, said Jesus, “Shake the dust off your shoes,” and move on to the next opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up!  But brush yourself off!  Move on!  In South Pacific Nellie Forbush got rid of the French planter:  She  “washed that man right out of her hair.” In Scripture, Jesus tells us to shake the dust off,  brush ourselves off, get rid of the contaminating, corroding effects of failure, defeat, disappointment, and move on. The wise prophet Isaiah devised  this wonderful counsel: “Don’t dwell on a bad past. Forget the old things. Do a new thing.”

British journalist Hugh Redwood slumped down in the chair closest to the fireplace in his hosts sitting room.   Under great pressure he had made some bad decisions. He had failed. He was discouraged.  Then on the table next to him he saw a Bible.  It was  opened to the 59th Psalm.  “The God of my mercy shall prevent me,” read the 10th verse in the old King James English.  Then his eye fell upon this clarifying and  cheering  paraphrase in the margin which someone had penciled: “My God in His lovingkindness shall meet me at every corner.”  

Have you flunked?   Dropped the ball?   Lost a prize?   Are you suffering from defeat, failure, disappointment?     Try turning silver into gold.    Begin by considering the suggestions here.        Smile, be gracious.   Hope, soldier on.    Don’t beat yourself up, but brush yourself off, move on, do a new thing.  And, supremely, know that God in His lovingkindness shall meet you at every corner, including the corners of failure and defeat.                            



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