Midway through week three of learning to box, I’m starting to look a little less like a moron and a little more like a fighter. Truth be told, I’ve always been a fighter.
“You keep working. I’m just gonna watch.”
Coach watches while I shadow box. I hate when he watches. As if it’s not enough that I’m make-upless with bed head braids, sweating in places I didn’t know I had pores. Now, I’m punching out a solo performance for the one person who can correct and critique my every wrong move.
“I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”
Now, this is the point where, if I were the coach I’d say something like, “Of course you’re not doing it right, Einstein. If you were, you wouldn’t need me now would you?” No such harshness from Mr. Cindric today, though.
“Don’t worry about that. It shouldn’t matter to you whether I’m here or not. It shouldn’t matter if this room is full of people or empty. Focus. Keep working. I have to see what we need to work on.”
“Why does it matter? I want to not care who’s watching.”
Must be vanity, I think to myself. I try to focus on my jabs and lift the weight of his stare off of my vain conscience. We begin to spar.
“Don’t tire yourself out swingin’. You’re way too aggressive.”
I try to suspend my disbelief long enough to catch my breath and stammer a half-hearted protest.
“You told me to be aggressive!”
“Yes. But you’ve got wild aggression; reckless aggression. You gotta get rid of that. I want to see controlled aggression. Only take the good shots. If you have a shot, always take it. But keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and you won’t last one round. I can see you’re tired. I’m waiting. When you’re spent, I’m gonna blast you.”
He’s right. I’m wildly aggressive. I have a way about me that says, “Try me. I don’t care if I lose. I’ll die trying to pay the debts my mouth daily makes.” Yes, I’m the five foot three inch white girl who, when asked by the six foot fight-a-day biggest bully in school if I was afraid of her, stood up in her face and said, “No! I’m not afraid of you.” Yeah, I got punched.
It is, I believe the heart of a fighter – a fighter, that is, who is about to be stomped. Because it takes more than unbridled passion to win. It takes skill, agility, balance, timing, and precision.
Don’t get me wrong. Fighters must possess passion. It’s just that that passion must, like Coach said, be under control.
He tells me not to be so predictable. “When your opponent expects you to move one way, move another and take ’em out. Never stand still; always keep moving. Be a puzzle. Stay in it. Don’t ever show me that you’re tired. Never hunch to catch your breath. Draw from the sun. Lift your head. Keep your hands up. Don’t advertise your weakness ’cause the second you do, I’m comin’ for you.”
Meanwhile, the dental hygienist in me is just wondering how many days until my two front teeth turn grey from those last two hits I failed to block.
We cool down and stretch and he continues to offer his wisdom. “Always wear the white belt.” He proceeds to instruct me on humility.
I review the session like a ticker tape and hear the voice of God drawing me towards a repentance I’d not understood before. The charges? Vanity. Reckless, wild aggression. Unbridled passion. Self-inflicted fatigue and fall out. Careless lack of self-protection. Pride and arrogance.
Always wear the white belt. I’m half-tempted to tattoo those words on the back of my aching, over-punching hand. Then again, I’m thinking that might fall under the reckless carelessness I’m trying to put away here. *Sigh*
What a God I serve! So willing to stutter and coo at a should-be-grown-up infantile child like me through the aspects of life I can most easily relate to.
All this time I’ve been fighting battles in his name. Right battles! But with the wrong attitude. I’m pretty sure he created me to be a fighter. If nothing else, my track record will prove that much; confrontation is a pill I swallow without a chaser. No doubt he’s groomed me my entire life to be his full out, no holds barred, freedom fighter. He’s just now teaching me how I might learn to be a fair one. I will succeed when I learn to lift my head and only ever draw my tired breath from the Son.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. ~1 Timothy 6:12