Life showed up yesterday and challenged me to a fight. Just last month we had it out in the ring. Yet here he was taunting me again. "I had you cornered once," he bellowed boastfully. "Next time you hit the mat, there will be no getting up."
I almost didn't survive the beating from that last match. For three straight rounds Life battered me mercilessly.
I quickly learned life wasn't fair. He played dirty and often hit below the belt. Just before the bell sounded, Life crept up from behind and forced my head in a tight choke hold.
"So, you think you can whop me," he whispered in my ear. Then he slammed me in the corner jam with such force, I saw stars flicker and gasp in horror.
Then Life swung me across the ropes and delivered a cruel body blow.
The first one knocked the wind out of me. I wobbled backwards. Like a drunkard staggering in the street, I struggled to keep my balance.
But life was determined to crush my hopes and dreams. His next blow was like a charging wrecking ball.
As his swing made contact, I crumbled onto the mat and whimpered in agony. Even then Life was not done. He kicked me in the gut as I laid there groaning in excruciating pain. He pummeled me with discouragement. And I felt defeat tighten her grip.
The punishing blows were deafening. I could barely hear the rallying cries from the sidelines screaming for me to muster strength; to get up. The faint sound kept getting louder.
Then through my swollen and half-blinded eyes, I saw my Past Victories jumped to their feet and yelled out, "You can. You will. You must!"
Even louder still they cheered. "You can. You will. You must!" But I was so exhausted. Yet that loud and lifting chant gained voice in my head.
"I can, I will, I must win!"
Those powerful words surged hope into my limp and tired spirit. Just moments before, I laid there ready to give up. I was down for the count. It would have been so much easier to call it quits, just allow Life to win.
But here I was, creeping up, finding my second wind. It whisked over me like a mighty force of determination. "I can, I will, I must."
My purpose for fighting became clear again. And that purpose gave me new strength and boldness to confront Life's challenges.
Other bouts before had left me bloodied and broken. But no matter how weak, I always struggled back and pulled myself up off the mat of despair. True champions may get knocked down. But they never stay in that low place.
So, 'I can, I will, I must" take my blows and rebound. For Life is a fight worth engaging. No one gets ahead without getting in the ring. No one grows without the force of friction. It is resistance that strengthens both muscle and mind.
It's only when I choose to give up that life's challenges stand a chance at victory.
Fight I can, fight I will, fight I must. So Life, bring it on.
And Let's get ready to rumble... Again!