Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The strong are weak too

David Beckham's face reflects the sudden profound shock of finding onself disabled. I have seen Beckham and his wife at close quarters, alone with them in a side street, near St James Street, London. He is tall, elastic, very fit looking. In fact, I think he is the fittest man I have seen. I could only look as fit as he does, if I spent all my days running around a field (which I cannot do).

Now, suddenly, the body (and the foot) which he has relied upon and which has given him wealth, a career and global fame, has dramatically given way, and on the pitch too. Strange, that it should be so public. There seems something of some lesson of destiny in it. David Beckham, the gifted media "idol", has a weakness.

We, who have had to come to terms with physical disabilities, suddenly aware of our own body's "call" to respect its needs and weaknesses, we know what it feels like. But we do not know this experience, under flashlights. Beckham has borne it stoically and reportedly without complaint.

Little do we realise the importance of one muscle, in this case the Achilles tendon. Ruptured Achilles tendons run in my own family. My father and nephew (who is currently recovering) have endured the loud unbelievable "crack" and pain of this small but crucial muscle breaking. The foot goes limp and becomes completely useless. Before operations, someone would suddenly become an invalid for life or walk forever on crutches . We saw Beckham on the pitch suddenly hopping, as he realised that the left foot was useless and hanging down, out of control. What a mental shock for one whose control of his feet is renowned.

A small but crucial bone, nerve or muscle can cause us to lose comlpete physical control over our life, at any moment. Our ability to do the things we love without pain or some form of difficulty rests on them. Our social life rests on them. All the more reason, then, to put all our trust, not in the body (though a great piece of work, it is also "dust") but in the God, who never fails.

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