21 Nov Inside The Ring of Life
Life hits you hard each day. As a kid, there is not a stride you’d take without hopping or jumping. You are filled with exuberance, energy, and enthusiasm. The world was at your feet. But by the time you’ve entered your teens, life had already hooked you in the jaw. The spring in your step is gone; there is caution, a desperate desire to fit in, to be recognized. You already have your share of heartbreaks, sleepless nights, and nervous days. Pretty soon you realize that you may be the apple of the eye at home, but at school, you are perhaps a thorn in the side. Life had already gotten you by the scruff of your neck.
You’d crave a fresh start, dreaming about it; longing for it. “Freedom”, you think for yourself, but as you enter college a few days into it and life pummels you again. You are thrown into an arena where everything is expected of you. You may have found freedom from the mom who peeps into your room unannounced or the dad who constantly checks your browser history; but you are now observed by the world. You may not like it, but you end up taking sides; you cover for someone while you point fingers at someone else – pretty soon you realize that this freedom has come with a price – a price to please the rest of the world.
By the end of campus life, you’ll be craving another fresh start, dreaming about it; longing for it. “Freedom”, you think for yourself, but as you join your very first job, life kicks you in the gut again. That, my friends, is the nature of life. It throws at you all the weight it could gather and all the power it could muster. You cannot tame life you can only tire it.
While outwardly the campus is a diverse place, inwardly almost everyone is in that race, running to attain freedom that is always at a touching distance, but never reachable. Outwardly, it can be very colorful but inwardly everyone grapples with the same dark desires of the flesh, which are blacker than the blackest night. Yes, in that superficial diversity there is an underlying unity.
But, believing Christians are a unique breed on the campus. They run a different race; not the one everyone else is thrown into. They have already attained a freedom that is so much greater than the freedom that everyone else is running after. There is an inherent calmness in them that fascinates the outside world. That incandescent light in them gives hope to those still indulging in the rat race. They engage even without trying to do so.
They are mastering the skill of tiring life. Life keeps hitting them, but their ears are tuned to their Trainer who is screaming at them from outside the ring; they dance to his tune. When he says, “duck”, they duck; when he says, “lunge”, they lunge. Their eyes may be on the opponent, but their ears are on the word; Listening carefully to each instruction and escaping the blows with grace. Without the Trainer’s voice the Christian is like a blind man boxing the wind.
There are times when life takes a breather from constantly aiming. That’s when the Christian retires to his corner and crouches onto his seat. The Christian is well aware that stepping out of the ring would mean an immediate defeat. Though there is excitement outside the ring, the Christian is not interested in that. There are flashes and dances; screams and noises – but the Christian is on his seat still listening to his Trainer. That’s how he relaxes in the quiet. He does not wind off by taking his mind off circumstances, but he flies over the circumstances along with his Trainer and plugs in those weaknesses.
Inside the ring, the Christian floats. He is active, nimble and his movements are choreographic. The awkward person craves that gracefulness, and without a word being said, without any advertising, sits in the stands watching the Christian from afar as he negotiates life. A man who is tied to the world cannot be graceful, but for the Christian, the world is worth nothing, and therefore any value that the world puts on him amounts to nothing. Instead of fitting in with the crowd, he stands out from it.
“While all the others try to do things to get recognized, the Christian gets recognition for who he is.”
His life and attitude are often points of discussion, and sides are formed because of the Christian.
This Trainer-obeying, quietly-meditating, nimble-footed Christian sometimes get hit. Right below the jaw, a smashing upper-cut. That’s when the crowd that has gathered opens their jaws wide and jumps from their seats. “Is he knocked out”, they wonder. Some cheer for him to get up, but many want him to succumb. His eyes are moistened and his ears are ringing. His mind seems to be shutting down and the voice of the Trainer becomes a distant background. That’s the deep dark valley of fear that all sheep of Christ walk through at one time or another. But that’s when faith kicks in. The Trainer’s voice might have died out in the ringing of his ears, but what he taught is safely inside. The Christian knows that the Trainer has faith in him; that he is prepared; that he is capable. Before the count is finished, he stands up on faith, and glares back at his opponent, ready to fight again. As he takes a few steps, the blurry vision becomes normal and the Trainer’s voice is once again heard.
There are a few who cheer for the Christian, but there are many who jeer at him; he is sledged inside and mocked outside the ring. Everything he stands for is made fun of. Everything he loves is ridiculed. Even his Trainer is not spared. But the Christian is unprovoked. He continues with his task as he always does. He utters no vulgarity despite being subjected to; issues no threats despite warned and threatened. Takes no step back despite pounced upon and shouted in the face. His resilience comes from his great Trainer; who is the expert at handling dissent and hatred. Moreover, the Christian rejoices in being trash-talked, counts it joy when he is cancelled. They’d done it with his Trainer; He expects no better.
The Christian is as engaging as it gets. As long as he listens to God, his Trainer, he can relax in quietness despite the chaos; as long as he is refreshed by that quietness, he can continue to be who he is; as long as he remains true to himself, he is unshaken on faith and as long as faith rules he remains unprovoked. Such a Christian engages without trying to engage and wins without playing. Such a Christian tires life and retires to his Savior’s bosom once his job is done to hear him say, “well done my disciple, my friend”.
Pradeep is passionate about bringing the Word of God to those who are in need of it. He has been engaged in the service of God since his college days and works as a Researcher in a Market Research Organization. Pradeep is married to Archana and they both have a son, Ayaansh Abel