When Work Is Play

I am watching on French TV the men’s tennis championship final at Wimbledon, England: it is Borg versus McEnroe.

In the background, behind the almost constant chatter of the French commentators, one can hear the calm and incisive, yet brief, remarks of the British announcer stating the score from time to time, and with equally detached coolness saying occasionally, “Quiet, please, so the players may concentrate.”

1 think of the hours of training, the worldwide attention, the lifetime dedication to the sport; this is not a game of relaxation.

Then I recall the early days of missionary work in China. Realizing the importance of relaxation in the midst of grueling work and unrelieved tension, missionaries on our station built a tennis court—of dirt, of course, not grass as at Wimbledon. And they played for fun.

Nor were they without an audience. On one occasion, a group of Chinese gentlemen came calling in the middle of a game. With hands tucked up their sleeves, Oriental fashion, they watched first with interest, then with growing concern. As the game drew to a conclusion and the overheated players, mopping their foreheads, joined their Chinese friends, they were greeted with genuine sympathy.

“We were talking among ourselves,” they said, feeling their way so as not to offend. “But can you Americans not afford to hire people to bat that ball back and forth for you?”

Meditating Transcendentally

A lot has been said and written lately about Transcendental Meditation—TM.

According to the dictionary, transcendental is an adjective describing a very high and remarkable degree: surpassing, excelling. The philosopher would say it is something that lies beyond the bounds of all personal experience and knowledge. The theologian would define it as lying above and beyond the universe. It is used of God himself.

So I went to my Reference Point, and with the aid of a concordance, looked up every reference for “meditate.” I discovered they fall into four categories.

We are to meditate on:

God himself—all that he is.

All that God has done.

All that God has said.

All that God has commanded.

What could be more strengthening, more reassuring, than this kind of transcendental meditation?

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