Look for the gain in face of loss

August 31, 2016 | 15 comments

My wife and I play mixed doubles together on my USTA Mixed 55+ team. The team played in a major tournament this month, and Kathy and I played very well in our first two matches against the competition walking off court winners, but the third match was a different story.

When we began the final match, I thought, “Aw we can handle these players, no problem.” Well, it didn’t turn out that way. They whooped us. During their play against us, I grew increasingly frustrated, unable to muster what was necessary to counter their strategy. Afterward, I mentally fussed and fumed a bit about what went wrong and what I should have done differently to turn that match around.

During my prayers for peace, I saw clearly that victory was not about the score, but about moral and spiritual lessons learned. I pondered the question, “What can I learn from this match that will make me a better player?” And I easily came up with technique I needed to improve, and more effective strategy to employ. And I committed myself to making these improvements over the coming weeks. As I found the gain to rejoice over, I eventually came to the conclusion that I was very grateful for these opponents and our experience together, because they were giving me the opportunity to become a better player. And that’s what counts most in the long run.

This insight reinforced my understanding that the most important gain in life is not a material accomplishment, like a higher score, more money, more fame, or a one-up on another. It’s what we learn morally and spiritually.

At the end of our time on earth what we possess spiritually is all that matters. Everything else is left behind. So, the faster we grow in Spirit along the way, the better off we are in the long run. It’s the moral and spiritual lessons we learn that are far and above the most important gain we can claim from any experience we have, no matter how good or bad it looks on the surface.

In light of this spiritual truth, there is no such thing as loss. What appears to be loss is pure opportunity to gain a chance to become a better person, a better player, a wiser and more informed thinker, a more spiritually enlightened doer.

God is always with us. God is always blessing us. God is always supporting us, encouraging us, and providing whatever we need to move onward and upward. There is never a loss from God’s point of view. When we seek the spiritual gain, and not ruminate over a belief of loss, we come out of every experience a winner.

Look for the gain in the face of loss! It’s a rule for life.

Oh, and BTW, my team did win the tournament to become the Eastern Washington State Mixed doubles champions in our level. Now, it’s onto sectionals where I’m sure there will be even more lessons to learn!

15 thoughts on “Look for the gain in face of loss”

  1. Dear Evan,
    You are so quick to turn your tennis experiences into moral and spiritual advances it is a joy to read them and take them on board.
    Sally.

  2. Evan, I love these words mentioned in your blog today,
    “God is always with us. God is always blessing us. God is always supporting us, encouraging us, and providing whatever we need to move onward and upward. There is never a loss from God’s point of view. When we seek the spiritual gain, and not ruminate over a belief of loss, we come out of every experience a winner.”
    Surely, what we gain spiritually in any situation is the ultimate, most important and paramount gain. Because when we leave the earth experience, its only the spiritually gained things that we carry along with us. If we focus on this spiritual gain, then the other gains and victories are sure to come.
    Evan and Kathy, congrats on winning the tournament to become the Eastern Washington State Mixed doubles champions.

  3. Thank you Evan, what a wonderful lesson to share. I love your thought: “At the end of our time on earth what we possess spiritually is all that matters. Everything else is left behind. So, the faster we grow in Spirit along the way, the better off we are in the long run. It’s the moral and spiritual lessons we learn that are far and above the most important gain we can claim from any experience we have, no matter how good or bad it looks on the surface.” I am so touched by your thought and your reminder to us of what really counts 🙂

    oh and good luck in the next round 🙂

  4. “At the end of our time on earth what we possess spiritually is all that matters. Everything else is left behind.”
    What a wonderful statement of the human experience. As we translate all our “happenings” into spiritual lessons, we are so blessed and so fortified for eternal life. I just love this, Evan, thank you so much.

  5. Good work and including you wife makes it so much sweeter.

    Should we be using our spiritual reflections to gain completion?

  6. Very good, Evan. Congrats. I used to communicate to my athletes. Do what you love and love what you do. If you are able to do that, you’ve won the significant battle of self. All else is just learning how to play the game.

  7. Congratulations, Evan!

    I love the tennis theme. My competitions have taught me a lot about DOMINION – that dominion does not mean DOMinating – it’s not about beating the pants off of your opponent.

    Dominion is a state of feeling completely satisfied with yourself; not necessarily that you win the match, but that you know you played well.

    Win or lose, if I feel good about my personal performance, my sportsmanship, and what I’ve learned, THAT is dominion!

    “There are no good or bad experiences in life, only learning experiences.”

    Thank you for reinforcing the idea that this wisdom is the only substance we take with us.

    Wishing you all the best as you continue onwards.

  8. This brings to mind “He comes anew to humble hearts…revealing the mounting footsteps of the upward way.” Hymn 202, 412. Always in step with God, upward, upward and winning spiritually. Congratulations to you and your wife…wish I could see you in the sectionals!

  9. Winning always is so exhilarating ! You feel so happy. I am disturbed by how angry and upset I am when my team or favorite players loose. It would seem I should be applying some of these Truths to these situations. Maybe pour in more gratitude for their efforts . Know God is providing them with new strengths and skills to grow. See what God is seeing and know God wouldn’t be screaming at them. I guess I could say nice try! You’ll get this! Trials are proof of God’s care. Any suggestions?
    I am a big tennis fan and watch all of the U.S. Open. Congrats .

  10. These same sentiments can be applied to a failed marriage which a divorce has dissolved. We can learn from these experiences and grow in our spirituality, patience, forgiveness (ourselves and others involved), and to love more unconditionally in every aspect of our lives.

  11. I, too, love this recap of your tennis tournament and what you gained from loss. Your statement, “At the end of our time on earth what we possess spiritually is all that matters. Everything else is left behind” is wonderful. A keeper! Best wishes to you, Kathy and your team in the next round.

  12. Hey, congrats to you, Kathy, and your entire team, Evan! May all of you learn as much in the next matches as your readers are learning from this nifty blog. All the best to you and your friends in the sectionals! And thank you, always.

  13. Dear Evan – I was recently thinking I hadn’t read a blog on tennis lately and wondered if you still played!! You do! Congratulations to you and Kathy!! What an awesome team you make!!

    In quiet moments of reflection recently I saw I was holding on to regret about many things and in today’s lesson and your blog – I saw the spiritual growth I’ve gained through those trials is the only substance I can/should/ will hold on to. I don’t have to keep refighting the battle – but claim it and MOVE ON!! I, too, love the quote about spiritual progress. God – how much love, meaning, power, life, and beauty in three little letters!! Much love!!!!

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