One of my favorite current podcasts is “The Only Way is Through” from Under Armour. UA is active in the world of sports and athletic training. This podcast shows some depth at the creative minds behind the company. It is a series of profiles of athletes, coaches, and their families as they deal with adversity and prepare for competition.
The last episode was a profile of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball coach Muffet McGraw. Mired in the first losing season in decades, McGraw is attempting to get back to the basics and draw success out of a challenged group of players.
The theme of these, as stated in the title, is how to handle adversity. Adversity often arrives in a formula in life. It starts, we follow to a breaking point, then must discover how to rebuild.
In my experience, rebuilding takes three things.
Faith that God works for good. That struggle is not without purpose. That the rise comes after the fall. I’m still fighting a three decade battle with cynicism. And the choice to be optimistic has led to more struggles. Yet, it is all part of the process. Contrast is important for humility. Recognition breeds appreciation. Interruptions are opportunities. We must shift our viewpoint.
Hope in new life. We are never too far gone, too old, in too deep, or too far away. We are never out of the orbit of God. We are never past our chances to redeem ourselves. It will be hard. It will take effort. It will be filled with discomfort but, in the end, it is worth it. We must learn to love the fight and never stop.
Love the process. If we are not struggling, we are not growing. If we don’t mess up, we are not trying hard enough. If we don’t push ourselves past our limits we will miss our potential. There is joy in the process. Destruction breeds creation. Bonds can be rebuilt better than before.
This afternoon Aiden determined to nail down shoes with laces. It was a time of laughter and tears, ups and downs, frustration and disappointment for him. He wanted to see how I did it, then how Val did it, and finally how Carter did it. In the end, after time, he figured it out.
At some point, it will be a job, a car, a house, a wife and kids. At some point it will be losing a job, a car accident, selling a house, and dealing with family emergencies. The sooner we learn how to rebuild, the more equipped we will be.
For the Day Ones are not easy. We can only prepare and equip ourselves and, when the day comes, take the first step back.