If only ... !

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

Recently I spent more time in front of the TV than was good for me – two weeks of it! Yes, I am a Wimbledon fan, and a fan of one particular tennis star from Dunblane. This meant shouting at the screen at regular intervals, groaning at lost points and cheering when he played a winning shot. Two years ago he was the Wimbledon champion and a cause for celebration but this year he lost to a better player on the day.

If only! If only he had played that little bit better. If only his opponent had not played so brilliantly. If only. Our lives can be dominated negatively by if onlys, but there’s another ‘If’ which comes to mind by Rudyard Kipling.

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.”

Yes, we all have to deal with those events many times in our lives to a lesser or greater degree and we all have different ways of dealing with them. We all enjoy winning, and no-one likes a poor loser, but think of those who experience constant success but cannot deal with fame and fortune and cannot seem to grow personally without occasional failure. In life our small successes are often more satisfying having worked hard for them. It is often the case that our failures, and even disasters, can make us a better person when learning to pick ourselves up and carry on, a lesson children learn in growing up to maturity.

“Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools.”

It was heartening to hear Andy Murray after the match accepting defeat with grace and maturity.

Perhaps next year, Andy!

“Yours is the Earth and everything in it, and what’s more, you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Pamala McDougall

Member of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)