Saturday, January 26, 2008

On pain and failure and perfection

This is an excellent article throughout, but the final quote from legendary wrestler Dan Gable takes it to a different level, and says an awful lot, I think, about the reasons God allows catastrophe into our lives -- and the role our own attitudes play in determining whether that catastrophe accomplishes what God had in mind.

Gable's life is defined -- by himself as much as anybody -- not just by his staggering, unequaled success as a wrestler and wrestling coach, but by the loss of his murdered sister when he was a sophomore (for which he blamed himself) and by the one wrestling match from his career that anybody ever remembers -- namely, the one he lost. But unlike tragic figure Donnie Moore, Gable took those two failures and used them to forge himself into a better person. And so we come to Gable's final quote, with which that excellent article ends:
The losses, first Diane and then the match to Owings, made him. He didn't just go on, he got better. That was the hardest part, he says. The focus came at such a high price, with so much hurt underneath.

You ask him: What is perfection? What has it meant to chase it for so long?

He's still in pursuit, he says: "If I could figure out how I could have gone back and saved Diane, and how I could have gone back and not had that loss in that tournament, and still gone on to be the same person I am today, that would be perfect."
...and still gone on to be the same person I am today...


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