Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
who we are, we all have trouble getting started in life.
It's hard to get going. Even being born is really difficult
for goodness sake. We have all sorts of problems just
coming into the world - then life gets even more difficult.
We have to go to the first grade! That’s really
scary; then junior high is like a Stephen King novel, and
high school? High school can be a killer. And later as we
enter adulthood, doesn’t matter if you’re a golfer, roper,
actor, college freshman, or new business owner, when you
begin…things are hard. Everybody has trouble when they
start. Even Elvis, Garth Brooks, and even Jesus – all had
trouble getting untracked. Elvis heard, “Go back to Tupelo,
kid, and drive a truck. You ain’t got it.” In his first
ever performance as a high school freshman at Yukon,
Oklahoma, fellow students laughed Garth off the auditorium
stage. And long ago on the other side of the world,
everyone knew, “Nothing good comes from Nazereth. Who is
this Nazerene?” Why is that?
‘Cause we’re all like old Sport – that’s why.
Trust me when I tell you Sport came from a poor
family. He said they were so poor when he was growing up,
they had a three-legged pig… ‘cause they could only afford
one ham at a time. Sport – in that little Texas town - said
he heard words like “white trash” all the time, and the
words hurt him deeply. Naturally, the young man came to
believe those cruel descriptions of himself and his family,
and all his early years were filled with embarrassment and
pain - and that caused him to suffer from a deep lack of
self-esteem. “Nothing hurts worse than that,” Sport said,
looking out the window remembering. For years, Sport
conformed only too well to the expectations of those around
him. “I couldn’t look at people,” he said. “Couldn’t talk
to a girl or an adult,” he laughed. But when he spoke those
words, I noticed his eyes were not smiling. Then something
Sport had a friend. “My only friend,” he said. Even
though the friend lived in another town, this other young
fellow had been observing Sport’s treatment from others for
One day the friend said, “Why don’t you come and live
with us in our town?”
“What good would that do?” asked Sport. “It will be
just like it is here.”
“Maybe – maybe not,” said his friend. “People won’t
know you there. You can start over.” Sport agreed to
consider the offer.
A short time later, he tried out for the football
team. When the team’s star player saw Sport, he sidled over
to the coach and said, “We don’t need his kind.” Naturally,
Sport heard that. Later the coach told Sport, “We have all
the players we need.” Sport asked if he could try again
next year, and the coach advised it might be best if Sport
tried another sport. “I was devastated,” he said. Then, he
remembered the offer of his friend for a new beginning.
Sport moved to a new town and a new school. Mindful of
how he had been treated and how that made him feel, Sport
made a point of being kind to everyone in his new
surroundings. He smiled and spoke to the popular kids and
he smiled and spoke to the unpopular as well. He treated
every person as if they possessed great dignity. As he
began to mature physically, Sport grew taller. He lost his
awkwardness, practiced basketball for hours on end, and
eventually tried out for the team at his new school. Seems
while Sport may have been poor as a church mouse, he was
rich in heart. The coach was impressed with his ability to
follow up after missing his first shot, retrieve his own
rebound, and make baskets on his second – even third –
attempts. Sport not only made the team, but became so
valuable he was named captain in his junior year. And then
another miracle…as a senior, Sport was named “Most Popular
Boy” in the school.
“It was because of my friend,” he said. “He said
things over and over to me. Things like, ‘You have not been
short-changed. Those other people were wrong about you.
You have not been ill-equipped.’” Sport added, “In time,
because of his encouragement and acceptance of me, I began
to believe in myself.” Sport wasn’t through with miracles.
Not by a long shot.
Because of his caring spirit, a shy girl noticed
Sport. They began to date and she told him her secret
dream. “My parents don’t have much money,” she confided.
Sport said he understood. “But I’m smart,” she said. “I
want to be a dentist.” The two made a plan. After they
were married, Sport worked two jobs saving every penny. His
wife worked her fingers - and mind - to the bone, and one
day their dream came into the world, no longer just a vague
hope, but a beautiful piece of paper with her name inscribed
and three little letters after that. The letters DDS –
Doctor of Dental Surgery. Sport and Mrs. “Dr.” Sport began
to make prosthetic devices, sold them, and made a fortune.
And Sport wasn’t through with miracles.
Sport bought condos cheap and sold them high. He
bought real estate cheap and sold it at a premium. Sport’s
sharp mind analyzed stocks and helped him select dependable
blue chippers, and Sport made millions.
And on this day, I sat with him in his home all these
years later – his mansion – filled with antiques, statues of
angels and paintings from all over the world, and flowers,
flowers, and more flowers. Such beauty, and the most
beautiful of all? The kind and caring spirits of Sport and
his beloved. And I thought to myself, “How on earth is
all this possible?”
How could this poverty stricken kid, the one every
single person looked down on, how could he do all these
unbelievable things? Then he spoke…
“It was my friend,” he said. “He told me I was
well-equipped. He told me it was so important to
believe…and I did. He helped me to see I had been given
abilities and that it was my choice to believe all those
others who said I was nothing, or to go into the world and
try. Things began to change in my life after that.”
I guess all miracles come through a caring person. The
people who change us tell us over and over we are more than
we think. One in particular said it best…
“I tell you the truth.
Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.
He will do even greater things than these.”
Jesus - John 14:12
-- Michael Johnson