These words are usually heard along about mid-August when football teams are beginning to practice for the upcoming season. At some point the coach says, "Next Monday we are going to start two-a-days," which means that the team is going to start practicing twice each day.
The coach has already conducted a survey of his team and, based on the number of players he has to work with, the level of talent, number of players returning and last season’s record, he begins to instill "hope" in his players that they have what it takes to have a good or even a great season.
In this respect, when it comes to hope I am reminded of the story of the third-string quarterback who had not gotten in a single game for the whole season. When it came to the very last game, both the other quarterbacks were hurt and the team was down by three touchdowns with only 30 seconds to play.
The coach signaled for the third-string quarterback to get ready. Before he put his helmet on to join the team on the field, he went over and said, "Coach, do you want me to win it or tie it?" Now, here was an obvious case where somewhere along the way, the coach had oversold him.
The word “hope” is one of the most important words in the English language, or any other language for that matter. We can't live without it. We must have hope if we are to face the world each day with its many challenges.
Yet, there comes a time in each of our lives when all hope is lost and that is when reality sets in. What is important to realize is (save when we close our eyes in death) that hope is only lost for a moment, for a day or some other period of time. We can regain and renew our hope, and in most cases, continue to live a wonderful and happy life.
However, while we may have hoped to live this kind of life with its many rewards, we must also be able to deal with something we call "reality" because that is where we are at any given time. As we live our lives day by day, there are those events and circumstances that come along when we temporarily lose hope. This is the moment when reality sets in.
Here are some examples to illustrate what I am saying.
1. When your childhood sweetheart that you had hoped to marry, says "I do" to someone else; that is when reality sets in.
2. When your house burns to the ground and you realize that your insurance policy has lapsed; that is when reality sets in.
3. When it is announced that the position that you thought you were going to get is going to someone else; that is when reality sets in.
4. In the championship game, when your team is down by two touchdowns with only one minute to play; that is when reality sets in.
5. When the stock market falls and you can't borrow the money to cover your margin calls; that is when reality sets in.
6. When your spouse has died and you are left all alone; that is when reality sets in.
If any of these things or hundreds of others just like them have happened to you, then you know just how hopeless you can feel.
To lift your spirits I want to share these thoughts that could make all the difference in the world. Even for the remaining spouse there is hope. During any circumstance you encounter where there is despair, just remember when reality sets in it is time for a new beginning.
Several years ago, I discovered a wonderful little poem by an unknown author that has lifted my spirits many times when I was down and discouraged, and maybe it will lift yours as well.
It is titled, “Don't Quit.”
"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will; when the road you're trudging seems all uphill; when the funds are low and the debts are high; and you want to smile but you have to sigh; rest if you must but don't you quit; life is strange with its twists and turns as every one of us sometimes learns; and many a failure turns about; when he might have won had he stuck it out; don't give up though the pace seems slow; you may succeed with another blow; success is a failure turned inside out; the silver tint of the clouds no doubt; and you are near when success seems far; so stick to the fight when you are hardest hit; when things seem worse that you mustn't quit."
Here are a few questions that I would like for you to ponder as you consider your future.
Is it time in your life for a new beginning? Are there things you have been holding on to, that you need to let go? What are some things you will need to do in order to get a fresh start?
Just remember, we can't live in the past. Today is the only day we have. Let us resolve to make the most of it. When we can forget ourselves and think of others, we are on our way to both hope and reality.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Arkansas 72034.)