There have been several occasions in my life that I have tuned into a sporting event on TV just to observe the action of that game. I do not know the players. I do not care what the score is and I definitely do not care who wins. I just find myself being a spectator. I watch but do not pay attention. Too often in life I think that this is the approach that I have taken. As I was growing up I was simply a spectator moving in and out of what was happening in the game that is my life. I did not care what the outcome would eventually be. I just enjoyed the action.
Two years ago I moved out of the spectator arena and became a fan of the game of life. This choice was not one that I made on a whim. I was diagnosed with a serious complication in the formation of my brain. It put me in a position almost like being in last place of a long jump competition with one jump left. No matter what I did, the chances of me winning this event seemed very low. I was experiencing a Stage 3 Chiari Malformation that was triggering Hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), which if left untreated or does not subside on its own can cause death in a matter of hours. When I was told this and told that I should not leave the hospital I was immediately put into the game and was forced to take note of the score.
Needless to say I left the hospital that night and decided to look back over my life to see if I was winning or losing. I found that I was way behind. I took everything for granted and was out for personal gain from the time that I could make my own decisions. I never really put some one first or offered to help those who needed it. My game was one of selfish goals and aspirations. I preferred the dunk over the assist.
Over the next couple of days I asked my self several questions to try and gauge if I could leave this game and feel that I had given my all to the team and helped garnish the sought after “W.” The questions were, what have I given back, whose lives have I helped to improve and given a better chance of winning in their own game. The answer was nobody! I could not remember a single time that I had put others before myself. I never got an assist. I was a one-person show.
Once I realized this, I took a time out to gather my thoughts and figure out the play that would help me to win the game, or at least give me a chance to win. I went back to the hospital with this new plan in mind. I underwent the surgery and stepped back out into the game ready to dominate my new plan like Carl Lewis did in the long jump.
My new plan was to make every conscious effort that I could to give back to my fellow man in any way that presented itself. If I can help to make someone else’s life just a little better than it was before I arrived, then I will be able to move toward victory. The fundamentals of my plan work together like John Elway and the Broncos offense in “The Drive” against the Cleveland Browns in 1986. No one part can act alone, it takes a commitment from every part of me. My compassion for life and willingness to give back. My spirituality and the strength that my Lord gives me to show empathy for man. And my ability to emotionally connect with people and truly commit to helping them through the tough times.
At this point, two years later, I feel that I have closed the gap between feeling that I was so far out of the competition to knowing that I can make the jump to out do the other members of the competition that once stood in my way.
It is up to us as individuals to get off the bench and get into the game. It is up to us as people to give more than receive. The more assists that we build up in our life the better chance that we will all play as a team and get the “W’!!
This I Believe!
Jeremy D. Behling
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