The young man gripped his sword as perspiration popped out in beads on his forehead. He’d never seen a monster like this one.
Fear never stopped him, though, and with a mighty howl of battle, he leaped towards the drooling fiend.
“Jimmy put that thing up and do your homework!” yelled his mom from the other room.
Couldn’t that woman see that he was saving the world as we know it? Wouldn’t it be great to play video games all day long without those female interruptions? Better humor her, though. Who was going to make his food, otherwise?
Have you ever dreamed of reading all day? All the reading you want? Just get lost in fairyland somewhere. Immerse yourself in someone else’s life, someone else’s story?
Or how about watching your favorite football team all the time? Or …
We love to live vicariously because we get the emotional stimulation without the fear of consequences. I’m bummed out when my football team loses but, oh, when they win I’m on the clouds.
When you get right down to it, though, I’ve got very little invested. I didn’t practice for long hours. I didn’t give everything I had to try to win.
All I did was yell at the television screen (and ignore my wife’s bemused looks).
I smile when I read in a sports forum a fan who rants, “We’re going to get this guy for our team” or “we’re going to do that.” “We’re” not going to doing anything. It’s the sweat-ers who are going to accomplish something, not the leather-lungs in the stands.
You have to wonder when fans berate players as if they didn’t want to win the game. The players have invested a thousand times more in that victory (or loss) than their fans.
Losing a boyfriend is sad when you read about it in a book but in reality it cost you nothing. You get to cry a bit and all it cost you was the $6.99 price of the book.
Life is different. We’re the ones in the story. We’re the ones struggling. We’re the ones feeling the pain in the fourth quarter. It hurts, but oh the fruits of victory in real life are a thousand times sweeter than simply reading a story or yelling when your team wins.
If you don’t mind me quoting from the book, “The Return of the King,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, I think that eminent philosopher Samwise Gamgee has something important to say on the subject.
“It’s all wrong…by rights we shouldn’t even be here, but we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo; the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you–that meant something–even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now: Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something.”
If you find yourself wounded in life don’t quit. Don’t worry too much about the fat guy hollering at you from the stands, either. Just keep doing God’s will in the assurance that He’s going to help you be victorious.
Since I’m on a roll, quoting people right and left, let me quote former president Teddy Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Can I cite one more–and this one is the best of all because it’s inspired from heaven?
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb. 12:1-3, The Message)
The key to making life exciting is to realize you’re on a mission. God put you here with a purpose. When you keep your reason for being on this earth in front of you (and there is a reason my friend. Oh yes, there IS a reason), it’s a lot easier to put up with days which seem boring or even painful. You’re living a real adventure. You need to live to win.