The T.K.O.

The pastor in the next office over is pretty sure the UFC is evidence that our violent and decadent culture is on the same path as the Roman Empire. My wife calls it human cock fighting.

Maybe. I have to admit that there are times I get conflicted about the sport, when I'm not enjoying it. I practice martial arts to stay in shape and to blow off stress. I'm currently learning mixed martial arts. A few years back, I practiced taekwondo. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I’d occasionally participate in a tournament. I'd drop forty hard-earned American dollars for the privilege of sparring with others in my age and weight class (Old and fat). I’m not sure if Amy was more bothered by my spending the money or the fact that I was risking injury. For the sake of this story, let’s assume that her concerns were with me.

One Saturday afternoon, I found myself matched up with an amateur boxer who was learning the sport. The guy’s arms were thick. I guessed he had about twenty pounds of muscle on me. A wave of fear swept over me. I made a hasty plan. I had a longer reach. I decided to keep my distance, skip in, land my kicks, and the skip back out of danger. I’d stay alive and win on points.

Unfortunately, I got too close to my opponent. He threw an upper cut into my diaphragm and knocked the wind out of me. I immediately doubled over and tried to catch my breath. I couldn’t. My rib cage had to be cracked. The referee counted me out. Just seconds later, my breathing returned to normal. I realized that I really wasn’t injured. My ribs were fine. I felt fine. I wanted to finish the fight but I had already lost. If I had only stayed in the game, my breath would have returned, and I might have won. I looked around at the people in the room and secretly wished that I was actually injured and had a reason to not finish the fight.

That T.K.O. reminded me of all the times that life threatens to knock the wind out of me. Maybe it's a rejection letter from a publisher, a curve ball at work, or a challenge on the home front that I wasn't expecting. I'm learning to stay in the ring no matter how I feel. I will catch my breath.

Paul said it this say, "Be strong, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain."

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