Since late Saturday night, I’ve willingly belonged to the losing side of an argument. Specifically, I’ve been arguing with several friends – primarily on Facebook and Twitter – that while the call to end Game 3 of the World Series was correct, the rule itself is bad. Several times I’ve
ranted eloquently communicated that the obstruction rule in Major League Baseball should account for a player’s intent, and that, yes, umpires should be asked to judge intent. (They already judge intent when pitcher’s do or do not intentionally hit batters, but don’t get me started…) The point is, I knew going into the debate that I would be on the losing side of the argument, and, ultimately, I realize I’m off-base.
Sometimes, though, our principles and passions drive us to choose the losing side.
It is not for the usual reasons of occupational busyness that I haven’t written a complete blog entry or posted to Wonderstuff for several months. Rather, it’s because of another losing-side situation. I’ve been sick. For months. Since May, actually. I’ve been suffering continual bouts of nausea, fatigue and dizziness that often overcome me all of a sudden. Sometimes it hits in the morning before meals, sometimes after lunch, sometimes in the evenings. Since June, I’ve had a Gastric Emptying study, an Endoscopy, a HIDA Scan, an abdominal ultrasound, and even a CT scan of my brain. On top of these tests, each of which has revealed hardly anything wrong with me, I’ve filled my body with a veritable cornucopia of prescription medication. I’ve had two different medical referrals and gotten a second opinion, and I’m on a very long cancellation list for some hotshot doc in Dallas to have a go at me. I’ve completed Whole 30 in hopes that abstaining from all those foods and food categories would reveal that I’d developed an aversion to them. I’ve started juicing to be healthier and I’ve since ceased juicing to cut down on the extra acidity that has affected my esophagitis. I’ve even gone so far as to eat more than one salad per day! Unfortunately, despite all these efforts, there has been no escape from this problem. I’ve lost twelve pounds, but gained no relief. It’s a losing side if ever one existed.
Sometimes, we don’t choose the losing side. We just get the victory beaten out of us by forces beyond our control until losing is all that’s left.
However, I want to make it clear that the operative part of my title is not so much a word, but the gerund-izing of a word. Losing. Present tense. I’m losing.
But I haven’t lost yet.
There’s still some fight left in me. I’ve still got some argumentative angles for those naysayers who doubt an ump’s ability to judge the psyche of a professional baseball player alongside his physical performance. And I’ve still got some options to try out in an effort to heal my body of this odd illness. (Pray for me as I give up coffee – including decaf.)
My point is pretty simple. There will be times in our lives when we find ourselves on the losing side. Maybe we carried ourselves there, or maybe we were bound, gagged, stuffed in a trunk and delivered there. Maybe we went looking for a fight, or maybe the fight found us even though we were peacefully minding our own business. May we remember that we haven’t lost yet. For the times when we go to the losing side willingly, may we be strengthened by the indignation we bring there. May our
twisted perfectly reasonable desire to poke the hornet’s nest with a stick serve to steel our courage and harden our resolve … for the times when we do not venture willingly to the losing side. For the time when we stumble upon the hornets nest and awaken its wrath. When those times happen – and as sure as the sun rises and sets, they will happen – we are going to need that courage and that resolve. We will be dependent on the strength and endurance that we’ve stored inside.
But when even that courage fails and that resolve fades and we can endure no more and we finally, at long last, turn our face to the sky in search of Another who can rescue us from the losing side, may we be greeted by an absence there. Instead, when we drop our heads under the weight of despair, may we feel His hand on our shoulder, and hear His voice gentle on our ear reminding us to “Follow me.” After all, that has been His purpose for us from the beginning of time before there were even sides to choose and lines to draw, and it is a purpose that never changes no matter which side we’re on.
Wherever you are, always remember: you haven’t lost yet.