Sometimes it takes loss to teach us hard lessons in life. When the loss is the passing away of someone you love, the lessons can be very pronounced and deep, because of the finality of it. Those of you involved in competitive athletics that care deeply about the outcome, understand this at some level. The loss in sport can be frustrating, disappointing, or painful. But the finality of the game of life should put loss in sport in perspective. It’s like time stops when you lose someone you love and who loved you.
My beloved Aunt Elsie passed away on January 21, 2023. I wrestled with the idea of attending the service in Chicago a few days later. I knew I would be going to the IL High School Tennis Coaches Workshop on February 2nd, just over a week later. Two airline trips to Chicago about a week a part would be a lot. Plus, the weather forecast in Chicago was not good. But here was the tiebreaker: I will never get this time back to honor my aunt and do it with my family. With that in mind, it was an easy decision.
The person who conducted the service read a poem that exemplified what Aunt Elsie was all about. The poem is entitled, “A Life Well Lived.” Listed below is the beginning of the poem. For the entire poem go to https://dailytimepoems.com/a-life-well-lived-poem/
“Life Well Lived
A life well lived is a precious gift
Of hope and strength and grace,
From someone who has made our world
A brighter, better place”
The words that resonated with me and defined Elsie are hope, strength, and grace.
She lived her life with an optimistic outlook despite her physical setbacks in her later years. She had an inner strength (not physical strength), that sustained her resolve during tough times, or to stand up for causes she believed in. And Elsie had such grace in how she treated other people.
What is in this for you? I do not want this to solely be a tribute to someone her family and friends have lost. I want there to be something in it for you, the competitive athlete or non-athlete. And here it is… Lead your life with hope, strength, and grace. Life will test your resolve, your ability to be resilient, and how you deal with people that offer resistance. How you treat yourself, how you view yourself, and how you treat other people will affect your happiness in life. Make it a life well lived.