January 31, 2011
Name association time: what do these men have in common? Here’s the roster: Owen Honors; Charlie Sheen; Tiger Woods. Give up?
These were not “two and a half men.” They were three grown-up men, playing at the top of their game. All had won the respect of the specialty worlds around them: Honors was the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise – one of America’s premier aircraft carriers; Sheen was the 2008 winner of the American Latino Media Arts award for “outstanding male performance in a television series;” Woods was on his way to challenge Jack Nicklaus’ lifetime record of 18 major golf championships, at the age of 34. Each of them was at a high-point, but shifting gears to go to the next level, when…
Captain Honors’ past as an amateur video producer caught his aircraft carrier commander career and sunk it. What happened? It happened years ago, when he was #2 on the ship. His effort to distract his sailors resulted in a ship-wide television production that has been called, by the independent press, “lewd,” “raunchy,” “profane,” and “ribald.” Admiral John Harvey relieved Capt. Honors of his duties, saying that the videos “call into question his character and undermines his credibility.”
Charlie Sheen – a 45-year-old “grown up” – has just checked into rehab, after spending a reported $500,000 in the last six months on drugs and escorts. His much publicized ouster from the New York’s Plaza Hotel in October – after an out-of-control party left his room with thousands in damage and him in an emergency room from the effects of booze and drugs. Warner Brothers has announced that his top-rated CBS comedy is on hiatus, putting 300 Hollywood staff out of work.
Tiger Woods’ private indiscretions became an issue with his wife, Elin, just before they became an issue for the world. Fourteen months ago, his car hit a tree; 13 months ago, his career hit a wall. Now “back,” he finished 14 shots back, behind winner Bubba Watson. Though favored by many to win what had been “his tournament,” he continued to show the effects of his personal off-the-course travails on the course.
Even before the tournament, Woods said: “I think in order to play at a high level, it helps to have a clear mind. I’ve played at the high levels before without a clear mind, but it helps to be consistent. It helps having your life in balance. Certainly my life is much more balanced than it was. I went down a path I should have never gone, and now I am determined to keep my life in balance… ”
Balance is not just a concept; it is a real issue that must be factored into life all the time, but most especially when one is reaching the pinnacle of performance. Three men; three different professional arenas; three very different fields of challenge… but each taken down by a force from within, that only they could control. No outside enemy played sniper; their biggest competition was an inner fight that has, to this point, proven to be their nemesis. If the champions can’t make it, what’s the answer?
Inner struggle? You bet. Even Paul of old knew about that conflict: “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25)
Life – for Honors, for Sheen, for Woods, for us all – is a struggle between what we know to be right… and our resignation to the wrong. Good vs. Evil isn’t just an external war, but an internal one that we all fight, every day.
How do we go from losing to winning? The Threesome haven’t found the solution yet, but Paul knew the only source of rescue: it is Jesus Christ our Lord. Has he rescued you?