When you’ve been there before

By Gavin Davies on 28 October 2008

THUMP

THUMP!!

He took you down like you were nothing!

It’s OK, I can fight out of this

He’s stronger than you are, and a better wrestler

That’s OK, if I lose I lose, but I’m not going to panic

He’s got a guillotine choke! He’s going to snap your neck

No he isn’t, I’m fine, I’ve been here before. I can spin out of this

He’s so fast! He’s got your back! It’s over, just tap

No, actually, I’m OK. If I just slide my foot in here and lift here, then…

… maybe

HEY PRESTO I’m on top and working for an arm bar!

*ding ding* end of round

So that’s how one sparring grapple went for me this evening. Starting from standing with a larger, stronger, more experienced opponent. I didn’t really have much chance of getting the sub, but that doesn’t matter. Jigaro Kano said “it’s not important to be better than others, only to be better than yesterday” and I was. I didn’t panic, didn’t give up unnecessarily, knew what my safe limits were. Axl Rose put it “experience makes you wise”, although maybe he got that from somewhere else.

It got me on to thinking about what the Bible says. It says “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord*”, which I guess partly means that things happen to you for a reason. The Bible also talks about a refining fire in a crucible of life, and I think Isiah even puts it something like “they will walk through fire and not be consumed”.

The trials we go through, they are not wasted. The pains we suffer, we grow from them, so long as we cling tight to what we know in our secret hearts, stripped of all pride and bluster, to be true.

* I really want to love Jesus. In my better moments, I feel the feelings, but more crucially, love is a verb. How does He want to be loved? By how we treat others – “as you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me”. That’s both inspirational and terrifying to live up to!