After I watched the Heisman Trophy presentation on ESPN last Saturday night (my selection did not win, by the way), I stayed on the channel and saw the documentary “You Don’t Know Bo” about athlete “Bo” Jackson. Although I was around when Jackson played for Auburn University and then went on to play both Major League Baseball and in the National Football League, I had forgotten much of his story.
The documentary covered both the truth and the legend of Jackson, a gifted sportsman who is the only person ever selected to play in both the NFL Pro Bowl and the MLB All-Star Game (and is in neither sport’s Hall of Fame). We remember the “Bo knows” campaign for Nike, but most of us have forgotten how his sports career ended at age 28 due to an injury and hip replacement. It was good to be reminded of this gifted athlete whose seemingly impossible deeds captured the country’s collective imagination for an all-too-brief period in time.
From interviews with Jackson in the program, it was clear that Jackson is comfortable with the narrative that he created and that others have created about him. In many ways, his story of success, giftedness, and tragic retirement captures the imagination. He does not come across as bitter but thankful for what he was able to achieve and the people who contributed to his life.
Each of us has a story or narrative that we live by. When we stop and think through our lives, we start to see certain themes or threads that seem to recur. Your individual story can either empower or restrict you; the choice is really yours.
If you see yourself as a victim, then you will live a life that seems to be completely controlled by outside forces. If you see yourself as a person of worth, then you face life with confidence and hope. The way that you think about yourself usually determines that way you face the daily challenges of life.
In some ways, the story a person adopts about himself or herself is that person’s worldview. For Christians, this is important because the story we tell about ourselves often reflects our attitude about God. Do we love God or are we angry with God? If you love God and tragedy comes into your life (as it will eventually), then you are not defeated by it but seek a deeper meaning within the circumstances. If you are already angry with God, then difficult times just perpetuate the downward spiral in that relationship. Your response to the challenges of life is often based on how you see your story intersecting with God’s story.
What’s your story? If you have not told it in awhile, find someone with whom to share it.