What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chasing after the Wind


By Creg

Jerry West led Univ. of West Virginia to the NCAA title game in 1959, tying a tournament record with 160 points in five games. He was co-captain of the U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal in Rome in 1960. He then led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals six times in his first nine years and was an All-Star in each of his 14 Lakers seasons. After retirement he was voted into the Hall of Fame & named one of 50 greatest players of all time. He also had a great wife & 3 kids.

Doesn't that sound like a man who has everything? He recently published a book about his life and I read an excerpt from Sports Illustrated. It does not have a happy ending.

After losing in the NBA Finals for the sixth straight year, his depression nearly annihilated him. Someone once described Jerry as a man who forgets everything-except a grudge. A man who needed someone, anyone, to fuel his fire. His identity and his game were built upon grudges. He had to constantly create enemies to motivate himself. All those times the stress sent his heart into crazy drumbeats that could last for days or weeks, his breath speeding into rapid, shallow gulps that left him ventilating into paper bags at halftime to keep from fainting. His thoughts stampeding until it was impossible for him to sit still and concentrate. His depression was so dark he wouldn't speak to his wife for a week, wouldn't say hello or goodbye to anyone, wouldn't desire anything except for a sleep from which he'd never awake. "You feel like you're in a forest at midnight. There have been a number of moments when I haven't wanted to live, when I felt so hopeless. Nights I went to bed and hoped I wouldn't wake up. Suicide? It isn't a coward's way out, like people say. It would take enormous courage. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm just telling the truth.”

He was named the MVP of the Finals anyway-the only losing player ever to win that honor-and flew to New York City to receive the Dodge Charger that came with it. An idea crept into his mind that he couldn't shake. He wanted to place a stick of dynamite in the car, right there in mid-Manhattan, and blow it to pieces. “That is when I started to get out of control, began doing whatever I could to ease the pain. It became a sickness and it became my way of coping... . I would lose myself in women, a lot of women.”

A strange thing happened in May 1972. Jerry played the worst NBA Finals of his life. The Lakers beat the Knicks in five. Jerry was a champion! Hooray... ? "I never felt the fulfillment when we won," he says. "All I thought about was all the times we'd lost. It'll haunt me till I die."

"I'm fighting the same battles inside. I see people who are calm. I see people laughing and happy, and I think, Oh, my God, I wish I could be like that. If I knew how, I'd be the happiest person in the world, because everything else has fallen in place for me. This should be a time of freedom. I've led a charmed life externally but not internally.”

What has fame & fortune brought him? Constantly holding grudges & creating enemies, dealing with depression by committing adultery, dedicates his life to winning yet wasn't satisfied when he won, never able to achieve the peace and joy he so desperately wants and sees in others.

I know someone who can bring peace & joy.

When I was going over this with my family Sierra said, "I used to be like that. I always had to win & if I didn't I got real mad. [She gets that from her mother :) ] After I was baptized I asked God to help me with those feelings. The Holy Spirit has changed my attitude. This year when I played football I did my best but if we lost it wasn't a big deal."

Sierra knows something that Jerry West doesn't. We all have a God-sized hole in us that can only be filled by Him. The more we try to fill it with something else, the more frustrated, depressed, and heart -broken we become.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Ecc. 2:11

2 comments:

  1. you are a wonderful leader of your home. these stories of other's lives is a great conversation for the family. we are proud of Sierra and see Christ in her life!! peace.

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  2. Amen, and thanks for sharing this story.

    ReplyDelete