How Will the World Know You?

How will the world know you?

Will the world know you by your family, your ancestors and the legacy that comes after you?

Will the world know you by your wealth, your fiscal responsibility and ability to turn a profit?

Will the world know you by your great intellect, by the diplomas on your wall, the articles you have written? and the collection of books on your shelf you have read?

Will the world know you by your creativity, your command of a color palette, graceful and unique strokes of the brush and eye for design?

Will the world know you by your fame, by the number of people who know your name?

Will the world know you by your physical prowess, your ability to come through in the clutch, and your wins?

Will the world know you by your command of the English language, your artful turn of a phrase and your ability to move people with the written word?

Will the world know you by the instrument you play, the finesse of notes and rhythms, and the virtuosity with which you play your instrument?

Will the world know you by your professionalism, by your reputation for excellence in your field, and the accomplishments you have achieved?

Will the world know you by your stunning good looks, your impeccable fashion taste, and the company of beautiful people you keep?

Will the world know you by your eloquence, the depth and richness of your voice and your ability to command the attention of a crowd?

Will the world know you by your scientific mind, your understanding of technical details, and ability to apply scientific method and sound logic?

Will the world know you by your leadership, the number of people who follow you and your influence?

Will the world know you by the music you compose, the divine harmonies and intricate melodies you weave together in symphonic wonder?

Will the world know you by your politics, the platforms you have championed, and the dedication to your party allegiances?

Will the world know you by the roles you have played, the tears you have coaxed from fawning audiences, and the adoring fans you have?

Will the world know you by your architecture, by your complex end subtle designs, by the magnificence of the structures created from your drawings?

Will the world know you by your dedication, reliability and number of sick days you did not take?

How will the world know you?

In the end, we all go down to the grave, and the world is passing away. When an Ode to a Grecian Urn fades from collective memory, Jesus said we will be known as his disciples simply by our love for each other.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35

“We know that we have passed from death to life,  because we love each other.  Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

1 John 3:14

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.”

Romans 12:10

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away….” And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. “

1 Corinthians 13:8,13

Olympic Lessons – Running the Spiritual Race

Joy and Sorrow on the Gold Medal Mat by Larry Slater
Joy and Sorrow on the Gold Medal Mat by Larry Slater

The Summer Olympics is a singularly unique time every four years when the world fixes its eyes on athletes who have trained a lifetime, many of them, for one Olympic moment. Other competitions pale in comparison to the Olympics. The world tunes in to watch sports that can’t fill the seats at any other time.

As a child, the kids in my neighborhood created our own “Olympic games”. We played out the drama of agonizing defeats and thrilling victories. The Olympic games capture the attention and imaginations of all people. Many, many people dream of Olympic glory as children, and some few talented individuals among us dream those dreams in real life.

The sacrifices of an Olympic athlete are tremendous. To achieve the pinnacle of human athletic accomplishment, the Olympic athlete must train harder, longer and more effectively than all the other athletes in the world who have similar Olympic dreams. The dedication of the athlete and follower of Christ are similar journeys. Continue reading “Olympic Lessons – Running the Spiritual Race”

Olympic Gold and Everlasting to Everlasting

 (c) Can Stock Photo

(c) Can Stock Photo

I tend to think that life revolves around me.  From my perspective, it does.  I see the world through my eyes.  My understanding of the world starts with me, but it cannot end there.

That myopic beginning is part of my lot in life. That is where my challenge starts.

I am finite.  My view of the world is limited. My view is not just limited; it is utterly infinitesimal.

Science tells us that the world began with a “bang” about 14 billion years ago.  All of known history is less than 10,000 years.  My life began only 56 years ago, and I might only have another 30 years or so if I am fortunate. In comparison to the age of the universe, I am barely a mist. Continue reading “Olympic Gold and Everlasting to Everlasting”

Remembering Jake Curby: the Weight of Glory

Jake Curby
Jake Curby

Just four years ago, a good friend of my son – a coach, a mentor, a teammate, a friend – died. Unexpectedly, he died. He was the epitome of strength and character, the product of hard work, moral fiber, faith and overcoming determination. He was a leader. He was a wrestler. 

He was an overcomer. He fought off cancer and epilepsy in high school to place 5th as a  senior in the Illinois State Wrestling tournament.

He was Jake Curby.

He coached my son to a runner up finish in the national Greco Roman wrestling tournament, and my son became his teammate at the Unites States Olympic Education Center. There Jake was a mentor, a beacon pointing the way to top of the Olympic ladder that Jake was climbing. From overcoming leukemia to 5th in the State wrestling tournament, from high school wrestling to earning a spot on the United States national team at 66kg in Greco Roman wrestling, Jake showed the way by doing it himself.

Jake Curby Climbing the Olympic Ladder

Jake returned from wrestling in Russia in January of 2010. He had jet lag from the time change. He was tired, but could not sleep. He went and worked out at the new senior level Greco Roman training center in Boise, ID where he was starting his final ascent to the top of the Olympic mountain. He returned to his home after the workout, and he died…. 

It was sudden and shocking. He was a specimen of strength, physical, character, emotional and otherwise. He had not had an issue with epilepsy for years. It seemed he had conquered that opponent, but he was worn out that day, tired and stressed by lack of sleep. Death came like a thief in the night and took him from us.

It was devastating to the USA Wrestling community, to the kids he coached, to his teammates and friends, to his family – to his fiancé – to all who knew him and celebrated his life. Few people at the age of 25 have the impact that Jake had, and few have been missed as much by so many people. He was the living example of a great human being with rock solid character and full of life.

Jake, Tanner & Jonathan (2)

Jake’s example lives on. His short, but full, life continues to be a source of inspiration for aspiring young people – not just wrestlers, but anyone who has a dream and dares to chase it. The Curby Cup that Jake’s father and mother and family and friends and the greater wrestling community have put on every year in the Chicago area is a testament to Jake’s life and the impact he has had on people. It is a marvelous event pulling in the best Greco Roman wrestlers in world to take on the best in the United States.

Jake’s Story

No one knows the day or hour that each person will breathe their last on this earth. There are no guaranties.  What we do with the time that we have, the impact we have on those around us and how people remember us is our legacy. Jake is gone, but he still inspires. His sister, Courtney, has captured that sense of sacred time wonderfully in this short video.

From Death to Life

Whether we live 25 years or 100 years, we all have the same end awaiting us. The time we have is a precious gift. There is no promise it will be easy. In fact, it most likely will not. It is in the striving, in the overcoming, in the courage to press on and to achieve the most that can be achieved with the raw material we have been given, that the fullness of being human is reached.

We live not as islands, as John Dunne penned, but are connected to the mainland of humanity. In all that we do, every single thing, we are influencing those around us for better or worse. Jake showed what it is like to live with a higher purpose and to dare to dream and chase those dreams with passion, determination, humility, good humor and grit.   

Jake also showed the value of faith and the freedom that comes from leaving the things that we cannot change to the God who made us. That is the freedom that allows a person to run unhindered toward the goals before them without the baggage of worry, doubt, regret, fear or a hundred base emotions that pull at most of us like a pack of dogs on the hunt.

In the end, however, all of our human striving is empty, the medals and trophies and accolades are meaningless, without a connection to the God who made us. We can not take those prizes with us when we shuffle off these mortal coils…. but there is a better end awaiting us: a new beginning.

The gift of life that we have in jars of clay is a shadow of the eternal life that is promised by the God who dared to shed his own heavenly glory and walk humbly among us, suffering and dying a cruel death to show us that even death, itself, cannot hold Him…. And He offers that same gift to us.

The challenges and troubles believers face in this life are working in us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. We should all dare to dream of great things, but do not neglect to hitch those dreams to greater, eternal things. Our days chasing these earthly dreams will end. Jake’s dream ended, but a far greater glory awaited him and awaits us who set our hearts on God.

Jake Curby – Tribute to Wrestlers

Six Attributes of Success

Five lessons in success from an Olympic Champ and one bonus.

In my last post, I passed on a blog article about 9 Ways a Theater Degree Trumps a Business Degree. Next in line is five Characteristics of a Successful Wrestling Mindset from Gene Zannetti, a sports psychology expert.

I have always said that the lessons learned in wrestling [or whatever sport or pursuit one chooses] translate to success in life. If a person learns to translate the lessons learned in childhood play to adulthood endeavors, and indeed “life” itself, that person will be successful. If that transition is not made, the richness of those experiences is lost and the experiences become only faded memories.

Wrestling is a particularly lesson rich sport. I learned two of the most profound lessons of my life through wrestling: 1) once you start something, you should finish it; and 2) don’t be afraid to fail. I think I have somewhat successfully instilled those attributes in my children. The memories of past triumphs (and unfortunately past failures) really fade in comparison with the life lessons that were learned through blood, sweat and fears I experienced through wrestling, and I carry them with me, as part of who I am, today.

Just two days ago, Jordan Borroughs won his 65th senior (Olympic) level match and with it his third consequetive world or Olympic title. He has never lost in senior level competition. Unknown to anyone but his coaches, Jordan severely injured his ankle in practice on August 22nd. He had surgery the next day. Two plates and five screws were implanted into his ankle, and he could not wrestle until the day he stopped out on the mat for the World Tournament on September 18th. The traits that make Jordan Burroughs a success come shining through in the interview with Flowrestling right after he came off the mat.

Jordan Burroughs describes in that Flowrestling interview the “five characteristics of a successful wrestler mindset”. These five things translate to a successful person mindset in whatever you do. Continue reading “Six Attributes of Success”