Herb was thirty years plus my senior. As a thirty-something athlete, I was in in the best condition of my life. I was running, eating healthy, and playing squash. My body loved the three balanced meals each day and a weekly routine of 100+ miles of running and four games of squash. The suggestion that I would enjoy playing Herb was one that did not make sense.
Herb was old. He was well into his retirement years. As I watched him on the court, he did not seem to be interested in working hard at his game.
I walked on the hardwood confident of the outcome. Thirty minutes later I had three losses to show for my efforts. Whatever I had thought before the games no longer made any sense. That day marked the beginning of my lessons with Herb as well as a good friendship. There was much that I could learn – then and now.
Herb’s attitude was priceless. He did not care what I thought about his game. He played because he loved the sport. While he was willing to share, he did not need to share. It was, as it always is, a choice.
Paul described himself in the same way as I discovered Herb to be. “The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless.” (1 Corinthians 4.3)
I find myself looking back to Herb wondering what lessons he taught me then that I seem to have forgotten. They include the following.
God speaks to us in ways we do not anticipate. Individuals and circumstances are our great teachers, if we choose to hear.
God’s lessons are not always the ones we are looking for. Life knows us better than we do ourselves. In the present of your life and mine are great pearls.
What happens with Life’s voice is our choice. We have the freedom to release or embrace.