Sunday, August 05, 2007

Michael Irvin goes into the NFL Hall of Fame

and opens his speech with a prayer, before intentionally baring his imperfections for everyone listening, then ending this way:
"You tell everyone who has ever doubted, felt they did not measure up or wanted to quit, you tell them to look up, get up, and don't ever give up."

Inspiring. What is it which we "don't ever give up" trying to accomplish?

My own answer changes over time. At this time, I say we "don't ever give up" virtuous action, as our spiritual growth is dependent upon narrowing the gap between ourselves and our ideal.

We "don't ever give up" spiritual growth. We seek truth, which is the same as seeking the divine. We are seekers.

We can never know God while we dwell in this realm. We can only seek God, and sense hints of Him, and of the higher realm of existence. This is spirituality. It is not the logic which resides only on an Earthly plane. It is the access to a higher plane which we know, mostly unconsciously, from somewhere deep in the core of our souls. We can consciously sense hints of it, but no more. Only hints. It is the best we can do. And then the wonder happens. The more we sense God, the more we then sense there is to know and to experience, and therefore the more we then seek Him out. The more we know, the more we realize there is to know, and the more we want to know. Paradoxically: the more we get, the more we don't get, and the more we want.

Michael Irvin is a guy who has trouble walking away from certain temptations. He put this aspect of his personality front and center for everyone listening to his speech. It was very brave, and very giving. He mimicked his desperate pleas to God, asking help to be a better father and husband. Michael Irvin is a genuine sinner, yet he is also a genuine and courageous person. His speech was moving.

As a football player, Michael Irvin was a modern day gladiator. He was 100% determination. In his day, he was also one of the strongest and most powerful athletes to ever play his positition. He went over the middle, knowing he was going to take the hit, and he did not care. He knew he could take the hit. He knew he was determined to win, and therefore would take the hit. It was a beautiful thing to watch. When an offense can complete numerous passes in the soft middle areas, a defense is in trouble.
Michael Irvin was one of the most versatile and well-rounded athletes to play his position. He was one of the hardest working guys ever to play for the Cowboys. He was one of the finest leaders and one of the finest teammates ever to play for the Cowboys.

I can't help but admire Michael Irvin the football player and teammate. And I can't help but like Michael Irvin the person. I understand succumbing to temptation.
Congratulations, Michael. Well done.

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