Most men have the experience of looking in the eye of a man holding a sharp object to his jugular every morning. When in this situation, it's good to know that the guy looking back respects you.
Monday, November 21, 2011
In the spring of 2011, after 30 years of involvement in the martial arts with time off to deal with my other lives (job transfers, huge projects at work, marriage, child birth, divorce. new marriage, blending families) I finally was ready to test for my Fourth Degree Black Belt which would qualify me as a Tae Kwon Do Master. I had planned to test in both June and then December of 2010 but had yet another major project intervene. My wife Lucia was 100% committed to helping me pass, a wife so supportive I could never have asked for. I worked with Lucia to plan our summer around the test and we made plans for a family reunion in Ft. Lauderdale after the test. We scheduled the time off of work and made sure her siblings did too, we made air travel reservations for those living too far away to drive, we had it all set. Then the date of the test was changed to the weekend after our return instead of the weekend before, leaving me with what could be a big hole in my training. I could have opted to put the test off for another 6 months and Lucia even asked, while holding her breath I'm sure, if I wanted to skip the reunion. I prayed about this, asking God to show me the path through and found that the best thing was to simply go with the flow and weave the different threads into a more holistic approach to reality. Instead of altering any of the plans I worked with Master Seo to find a place I could train in Ft. Lauderdale, but knew that even that would put a dent in the festivities since it was a 30 minute drive away from the house and our schedule was packed. In the end I found that I could work the weapons training in my sister-in-law Maria's back yard and practice everything else in the city park near her house (where there was a basketball court to provide a good flat surface but where the weapons would be illegal). I managed this in the South Florida heat every day we were there and as I walked back on one of the last days I was feeling good about having interwoven the different parts of my life. I had managed to keep God in first place, please my employer, keep my family commitments and still prepare for one of the more significant events in my life. As I was thanking God for helping me arrive at this point I heard the message, the promotional test was not the issue, the real test was my life itself. I am still learning to balance and prioritize my life just as I am still learning as a martial artist. I passed the promotional test and am now considered a Tae Kwon Do Master. I think I passed the life test, this time at least, as well. In my heart I know I still have a long way to go in both disciplines but I have great mentors to help me on the path, the Mentor in Chief being God the Father.