Every day of our lives matters. The days when we’re old count just as much as the ones when we’re young. Because each day is an opportunity for hope.
Consider Albert. He wanted to be a singer. Critics described his early performances as “painful.” But Albert worked hard polishing his style and by his late twenties became quite a success.
Unfortunately, popularity is a cruel mistress. In his thirties, Albert’s career careened downwards to a nadir seldom seen in showbiz history. Wracked by scandal, he was fired from his radio show, his movie contract cancelled and his concerts unattended. It seemed his career was over.
Many people would have given up. But not Albert. Desperate for work, he offered to take on a small movie role for free. Quite a comedown for a former star. Surprisingly, that part won him an Academy Award. In case you haven’t guessed by now, the movie was From Here To Eternity and the washed up star — Francis Albert Sinatra.
Frank went on to become one of the most popular singers of the 20th century. But only because he wouldn’t quit.
If anyone ever had a right to give up it was Harry. Despite being a nice guy, Harry’s list of failures made him the very definition of a loser: He dropped out of college, made a series of disastrous investments and couldn’t even make a living on the family farm.
Finally, in 1917, he entered the First World War. He seemed an unlikely soldier, but he was disciplined. He was soon promoted to captain and decorated for heroism. After the war, filled with newfound confidence, he gave business another try. And fell flat on his face! Lesser men would have despaired. Not Harry. He kept on trying.
When he was nearing forty, his friend Jim Pendergast convinced him to try his hand at politics. Harry won his first election and became the commissioner of Jackson County, Missouri. He had quite a knack for government and eventually became a senator. In 1945, following the sudden death of FDR, Harry reached the pinnacle of public service.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, Harry’s full name was Harry S. Truman. And he became the 33rd president of the United States. But only because he wouldn’t quit.
Finally, let’s consider a young ballplayer named Larry. He hoped for a career in the major leagues but was a dreadful fielder. Larry worked hard on the defensive side of his game and soon got the call to the big leagues. Despite his sunny disposition and unswerving kindness, he was a target. You see, Larry was an unattractive young man. Players would do ape impressions every time he came up to bat. Others ridiculed his penchant for malapropisms. A lesser man would have been devastated. Not Larry. A devout Catholic, he turned the other cheek with a good-humoured style that became his trademark.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, you probably know Larry better by his nickname — Yogi. In the end, Yogi Berra had quite a career. Twenty-one Pennants, ten World Series championships, eighteen All-Star selections and membership in the Hall of Fame. It all happened because he wouldn’t quit.
As for Yogi’s malapropisms, they’re part of our everyday lexicon:
“When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”
“It’s déjà vu all over again.”
“Always go to other people’s funerals, or they won’t go to yours.”
No matter what difficulties we face, there’s always hope if we don’t quit. As the old axiom states, “when God closes a door, he opens a window.” Or, in the comforting wisdom of the book of Romans, “All things work to good for those that love God.”
As Yogi once said, “It ain’t over, ‘till it’s over.”