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Proud Former Famous Athlete Humbled at Nursing Home

We have a choice of either humbling ourselves or being humiliated. There was an elderly man who was once a famous, award-winning athlete in track and field. He had a room full of plaques and statues and framed certificates.

Years after retiring from competition, he was invited to deliver the keynote address for an awards banquet for young athletes. After finishing his presentation, the audience jumped to their feet and chanted his name over and over! He walked out feeling like a kid again, heady with memories of the bygone days when he was king of the hundred-yard dash.

As he shook hands with admirers at the end of the evening, he told them of his plan to spend his last years visiting the elderly at various health care and retirement facilities. Because of his age, he knew the children in hospital wards wouldn’t know him as a celebrity, but he was sure people in his age bracket would. He was convinced he could encourage them with his stories of success and even show off some of his trophies. He could hardly wait for his first visit.

The following week he arrived at a nursing home and noticed immediately the halls were empty except for one elderly lady in a wheelchair. He got her attention with a cheery “Good morning!” Then he asked, “Ma’am, do you know who I am?”

She looked at him with pale blue eyes and smiled. In a quavering voice she replied, “No, but if you go to the front desk, someone there will tell you.”

From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, Christmas Advent 2009, 10/22/2009

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