by Mike Keating on Wednesday, 15th of April 2015
This is the first sentence to Charles Dicken’s great novel “The Tale of Two Cities”. Many literature critics consider it to be the best opening line to any book in history. But it is interesting to reflect that sometimes the worst of times can be the best of times and vice verca.
Randolph Lycett of Australia has one of the most celebrated failures in tennis history when playing on the center court of Wimbledon in 1921. He was playing Zenzo Shimidsu of Japan in the quarter finals on what was to be one of the hottest days on record in living memory.
Because of the heat, Lycett felt that he need to recharge his energy and liquids each set by drinking a glass of gin rummy. The ‘Daily Telegraph’ reporter stated that after twenty games, Lycett had become a spectacle of ridicule. He could hardly walk and the combination of the gin and heat was clearly effecting
his ability to stand straight; let alone hit the ball.
In a desperate need to rehydrate himself, Lycett now called for a bottle of champagne and drank to whole lot while the umpire read out the score. This of course proved to only make matters much worse and ultimately Lycett lost to his Japanese opponent.
Despite the ridicule and disgrace, Lycett came back the following year and reached the final the following year. He was the runner up in the world’s most celebrated tennis title. He demonstrated the power of perseverance and not allowing a mistake to cause him to quit. In the same year, this quotation from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF” was engraved over the doors to the center court of Wimbledon.
“If you can meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same”
We will all have to navigate the good days and the bad days and yet the truth is that neither the highs nor the lows actually define us. What matters is not so much what happens around us, but what happens in us.
Failure is not a good reason to quit. Neither is success for that matter. Today is always a bad day to quit. The only real failure is letting failure stop you from getting on with life once more. The art of failing is to always fall forward!
One’s ability to handle the all the times of life teaches as that all of life is a sign that this life is not about this life. It is a call to eternal realities and truths beyond this troubled world.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psa 90:12 NLT)
- Ps Mike