A friend reminded me today of an experience that taught me a few lessons, and I began to think about the process of losing and what it means to a person's character.
The specifics of the particular loss are irrelevant, save to say that the experience involved an academic award. Having racked up a series of significant academic and journalistic honors over the last few years, I have to admit that I began to view this award as something I had already won, as well as something I deserved.
Some might rightfully describe this attitude as "cocky" or "arrogant," and - truth be told - they are right.
I am convinced that God intended for me to lose, and that I needed to be knocked down a few pegs from my haughty perch. There were plenty of other people who were deserving of the particular award, not the least of whom was the actual winner, and I am somewhat ashamed to acknowledge that I whined about losing for a few days afterward. Ah, if we could travel back in time and give ourselves a knock about the head when we needed it, right?
I say somewhat ashamed, because part of the process of embracing the virtue of humility as a part of one's personality is being willing and able to publicly admit one's failings. This is not to wallow in my failure, mind you, but to view a defeat as a part of life and a part of who I am.
So, thank you, God, for the defeat and the greater lesson in being humble. It took me a few months to understand the manner of Your ways, but I think I have this one figured out.