Vince Lombardi sucker punches Churchill

We’ve heard the simplistic chestnut of wisdom a million times, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Catholic Buddhist here. Don’t believe in Hell. Lucky me. No, for me, the road paved with good intentions creates a far more perilous path – one of estrangement.

It is not enough to say you wish someone well. It is not enough to hope things get better. It is not enough to pray someone or something else will help. Bows and fairy dust and Band-aids are not enough.

Good intentions get you the cheap seats in this scenario. The nosebleed section is reserved for the slothful spectator watching a game while eating stale popcorn and drinking flat New Coke. As bad as New Coke was, it’s nothing compared to the reality for our good-intentions-fella. The object of his intentions looks from the field to the stands, sees goodfella sitting passively by, and feels alone in the fight.

Daniel has a “come to the field and play” moment in the book. While in Africa, Durham uses the expression, “this is a pretty Band-aid on a massive gunshot wound” to describe Daniel’s inability to truly engage at CBSM and in Switzerland. When Chris and I were little, we had the brilliant idea of opening an unyielding pistachio with razor-sharp scissors. Result? I cut off the tip of my finger. About 10 minutes after trying dozens of Band-aids, the little Ayreseinsteins realized the intent of the plaster was great, but just not enough. “MOOOOOOM!?!”  Good intentions coupled with action? There we have it.

Like Daniel, some people just need a push. These folks tend to be afraid to act on their good intentions because they don’t want to be hurt or blamed when things don’t turn out so peachy keen. Good intentions (“I want to help”) plus action (“here I am, helping”) may not result in a happy ending for either person. It can be heartbreaking, disappointing, or even devastating depending upon the situation. C’est la vie because the exact opposite might happen as well. You could be the ringer – the player that saves the day.

Either way, one thing is clear: life doesn’t happen in the cheap seats, my friends.

Churchill used sports metaphors quite a lot and I usually defer to Churchill quotes on all matters. However it’s the man, the myth…Vince Lombardi…who said it best, “Any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

Victory, for me, is assured if you get on the field. No matter who or what wins in the final hour.

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