The Michael Jordan dilemma

Michael jordan dunk

A problem that all people share is what could be called the “Michael Jordan dilemma”. It is the knowledge that you have worked really hard for something day after day, and now it comes so easily to you that other people start to believe that it is easy. As Jordan says:

“Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I led you to believe it was easy when it wasn’t. Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free throw line, and not in the gym. Maybe I made you think that every shot I took was a game winner. That my game was built on flash, and not fire. Maybe it’s my fault that you didn’t see that failure gave me strength; that my pain was my motivation. Maybe I led you to believe that basketball was a God given gift, and not something I worked for… every single day of my life. Maybe I destroyed the game. Or maybe… you’re just making excuses.”

Most people don’t see the hours I spend maintaining my already flagging health—really only my immediate family does. If I appear healthy and happy-go-lucky on the outside, it is because I have worked really hard to make myself that way. Good health is a God-given gift, so please please please cherish it if you have it!

Cystic fibrosis is much more complicated than just having asthma or flu-like symptoms. In honor of MJ, the greatest #23 of all time, I’m going to give 23 cystic fibrosis related complications. They represent all of the excuses that people with CF could give…

Diabetes, vitamin D deficiency, infertility, nail clubbing, pleurisy, exhaustion, osteoporosis, dehydration, liver disease, gallstones, pancreatitis, malnutrition, intussusception, pneumothorax, nasal polyps, chronic rhinitis, pneumonia, chronic cough, anxiety, depression, hypoxemia, acute bronchitis, and bronchiectasis.

All of this is why, technically, the US government considers me a “disabled person”. They go by a definitive measurement called FEV1 which means Forced Expiratory Volume 1, or how much air you can blow out in 1 second. Any CF patient with an FEV1 below 40% is considered disabled. Here is my FEV1 from my most recent doctor’s appointment (click to see a larger picture):

FEV1

Fev1 (2)

As you can see, it is at 32% which is actually really good for me. This means a person with 100% lung function at my age would blow out 4.33 liters of air in 1 second, while I blow out 1.39.

I could collect a government disability check for about $500-600 per month, and have a nice comfortable life where I kick back on my couch and play Call of Duty all day. But, as Pope Benedict XVI put it in his encyclical Spe Salvi, “Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God.”

It is pretty obvious that Michael Jordan didn’t become comfortable after winning his first championship—he grabbed the bull by the horns and his Bulls won 5 more rings. He was motivated by more than championship rings. He wanted to be the greatest basketball player who ever lived. My motivation and fulfillment come from a higher source—the greatest man who ever lived, the Son of God and Son of Man who never made even one excuse, namely Jesus Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” —Galatians 2:20

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