Yesterday, I decided to take an air conditioner out of an upstairs window. The leaves are changing, the air has picked up a nighttime nip and I like to save the air conditioner from the freezing conditions of winter.
I had done it 'a hundred times before' -- taken it out or put it in. I knew the thing was quite heavy and difficult to maneuver through the upstairs hall. It always had been a challenge to my muscles, but I had come out victorious in the past and planned, in my mind, to do so again.
My knowledge of the past made me confident. I had done it so I could do it. It was a problem, but not an insurmountable one. In my mind, I was younger and full of muscular ability.
But this time, the air conditioner made its own victories apparent. Yes, I got it out of the window and yes, I carried it as carefully as I could to the room where I had always stored it, BUT ... the victory took the starch out of me. The air conditioner let me know in no uncertain terms that it would, at some point, overcome my confidence and victory. I was exhausted and wracked by the experience. And I could almost hear the air conditioner whispering, "One of these days, old man...."
It made me think: Be gracious in your victories and honest in your defeats. Things work better that way.
And still ... it's no mean thing to acknowledge and ingest "defeat." There is someone who purely hates it: "Me."