METAPHOR (excerpt)

mma-rulesThe bell rang — sounding the opening of the 12th round.

Blood streamed from my ears, nose and mouth.  My hands were shattered and broken.  My eyes were battered and nearly swollen shut and I couldn’t see the truth even as it stood right in front of me.

Throw in the towel, they pleaded.  The fight’s over, they said.  But I didn’t hear.

Defiantly, I limped to center ring.  I summoned every last ounce of fight in my soul, but it was too little, too late.

I fought the good fight, to be sure.  I came that close to pulling it off — the greatest comeback of my life — before I went down late in the round.  I had nothing left to give.  Too much damage had been done.

I’d never lost before, never suffered such defeat, not like that.  I was supposed to win that fight.  I was sure of it.  Or, so I thought.  But Fate had other plans for me — I just couldn’t see it…yet.

As crushing as that defeat was, I was fortunate to have such a supportive crew in my corner.  They stepped in and picked me up when I wasn’t able to do it for myself.  They pulled me to my feet and from the ring.  They helped me even when all I wanted to do was succumb to my injuries, when all I wanted to do was die.  Right there.  Right then.

I had nothing left to fight for.

It’s okay to lean on us, they reassured me.  And so, I resigned to let them help me, though I didn’t really want to be helped.

Yet, even as they led me away from the ring, I made a promise to myself…the promise of early retirement.  I was never going to fight again.  It just wasn’t worth it.  Not worth the pain.  Not worth the turmoil in my soul.

What’s the point?  Why give everything?  Why put it all on the table only to lose the title in the end?  But it wasn’t the end…in spite of how much I believed it to be.

Before entering the tunnel and returning to the locker room, where I was determined to hang up my trunks forever, I dared to take one last look at the crowd over my shoulder.  And I saw something there…a face among all the others.

That was so many months ago now — a fading nightmare.  Since then, I’ve had the chance to heal.  My strength has been regained.  And once again, I stand in the ring, reinvigorated and ready to face whatever it is that life is prepared to throw at me.  I am armed with a new weapon…Hope…and never before have I been so confident in my ability — not only to survive, but to thrive, to live…to love again.

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