Reflection: Arthur Ashe, My Friend

Watching the sunrise and the sunset is one of my favorite things to do no matter where I live. A few days ago in the evening, I was sitting on a rock by the ocean watching the sunset. As the sun slowly lowered itself I went into the world of my imagination.

I imagined the famous tennis player Arthur Ashe tap my shoulder and saying to me, “You promised me that anytime you feel down, complain about your life or find yourself judging others- that you would read my letter. I decided to return and remind you about your promise and my letter, in case you may have forgotten.”

“I was in the hospital, after my second heart surgery when I contracted AIDS due to an infected blood transfusion,” Arthur continued, “I received many letters from my fans all over the world. People sent me best wishes and blessings. They prayed for my good health, and wanted me to be back on the tennis court, but one letter in particular asked: Why did God allow you to be infected with such a bad disease?"

To this letter, Arthur Ashe replied with another letter in which he wrote, “In the world 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5,000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach the Wimbledon, 4 to semi finals, and only 2 to finals. When I was the one holding the cup, I never asked God: Why me?"

And today in pain, I should not be asking GOD "Why me?" Arthur Ashe finished. Arthur Ashe died of AIDS in 1993. I came across a biography of Arthur Ashe some fifteen years ago. I was so motivated by Arthur’s outlook on life, that I make an effort to re-read his letter every time I feel distressed and despondent.

Arthur Ashe once said, “Wherever you feel sick at heart and weary of life, or when you stumble and fall and don’t know if you can get up again, think of me. I will be watching and smiling and cheering on.”

Thank you, for watching out for me, Arthur Ashe, my friend.

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