Mohammad Ali and the ego of the meek

This noon I had lunch with Rachel, my daughter, at Rachel’s Bread.  It was a happy choice for us. I told the two Rachels  that when I told my mother  that she had a granddaughter named Rachel my mother exclaimed that if I had been a baby girl they would have named me Rachel.

Ruth Martin, my mother, was a meek, but strong woman.  She was the youngest of  seven siblings. Her mother died in childbirth when my mother was about a year old. So Lizzie, her oldest sister became like a mother to her.  As a wife and mother she became responsible for the winter-time care of the small farm which included house maintenance, care of chickens, cow, and hogs, and the rearing of her two sons.   Aunt Lizzie  came to live with us the day I was born and stayed there until she retired at Menno Haven.

AliRachel returned me to Greencroft in time for me to play table games for two hours and then g0 to my castle where watching  TV was an option.  I had  watched clips of Muhammad Ali’s boxing career.  Now I broke into the memorial service for Muhammad Ali.

I listened as a teenage young woman described how her life had been changed through the intervention of Muhammad Ali.  Billy Crystal described how he became Ali’s “little brother”.  Bill Clinton concluded with a eulogy in which he eloquently described what he called the second half of Ali’s life. The first half of his life had been devoted to a single gift, the athletic gift of boxing.

posted on my door

posted on my door

The second half of his life highlighted Ali’s other  gifts as he aged and struggled for thirty years of parkonsen disease that slowly hastened the diminishment of his abilities,  I liked that.  I assume that most us who read this are living in the second half of our lives.  Do we have the ego to make the most of it.

This morning I listened to a recording of the first half of the memorial service.  I heard the opening tribute by his widow. Ali is not a model but from the stories of Ali’s life I better understand  the role of the ego in a  determination to persist to success.

How much ego will the meek need to inherit the earth, as they will do according to Jesus?

words taken from a faded clipping found in the bottom of  my dear mother’s drawer:

What use am I?” What use am I?”
Oh, never let that be your cry.
If you’re a drop,  if you’re a sea,
Well then be that I say! But BE!

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Mohammad Ali and the ego of the meek

  1. Don Blosser says:

    Good thinking, Martin, but the one thing I would add that made me feel good, was the number of times Christian (and Jewish) religious leaders commended Ali as being a person of faith, (intense faith and faith with integrity) were words that I remember. Ali was Muslim, and took his faith quite seriously. That faith led him to be a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam war, and I commend him for that. He serves as a good marker witness to those Christian folks who equate Muslim with violence. Ali would be a witness to Muslim faith with integrity. Would that more Christian people could see that in more Muslim people. (and then, that Muslim people could see that same thing in more Christian people !)

    • Good observation. I’m sure I missed some significant statements. I think I just caught the end of a statement by a Jewish Rabbi. It seems that the recordings of those statements were not made as available as were the more political parts of the events.

  2. Glenn Lehman says:

    I’m not usually quick to find wisdom in the grandiloquence offered up for celebrities. But I do applaud you, Martin , for the gems you find here. I’d like to interview the people of his Sunday school class, his pastor, his small clutch of fellow believers, etc. that he converted out of to understand what he was freed from.

  3. Sam Troyer says:

    My wife and were captivated by this service and felt it’s timeliness in light of all that is going on in our political world with one side adding fuel to the hatred and bitterness while this service stressed how now matter what our color religion or gender identity we are all a part of one family.

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