It is tempting to think that we don’t seem to get the breaks in life or at work that we deserve. It may seem that someone less deserving always gets the good assignment, the promotion, the title, the office, the “good stuff.” Or, you may feel that things just don’t seem to go your way. Well, friends of mine have good friends experiencing a truly “tough break.” This husband of this couple recently died from ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). It is a devastating disease that usually strikes individuals in the prime of their lives. It essentially causes all muscle function to dissipate, though the patient retains all mental capacity. Sufferers experience their bodies slowly losing all ability to function. The wife of this couple previously lost her first husband to death. And, we think we have had a “tough break.”
You may not know much about Lou Gehrig. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players in history. He held the major league record for most consecutive games played in his time and is a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. He was stricken with ALS during his baseball prime. At his retirement celebration in Yankee Stadium in New York, he gave the following speech:
Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech on July 4, 1939
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.”
“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.”
“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.”
“So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”
Lou Gehrig is a true hero. He showed us that tough breaks are what we make them. He showed us how to deal with tough breaks with grace and thankfulness. He showed us that, regardless of what challenges we currently face, we have “an awful lot to live for.” Is there something in your life today that might represent a tough break? Can you take a cue from Gehrig and his attitude for handling it?
I truly hope that your life is happy and full. Have a wonderful day and let’s be thankful for the good that we experience today!