No losers

The old courthouse square in our town used to have a raised concrete strip bordering its lawn, and men gathered there to sit in the shade and talk. Many of these men were derelicts. They had accepted defeat and were either drifting aimlessly or had already run aground. Based on the common belief that winning is achieving more or better material goals, their individual scoreboards declared that someone else had won. And the hopelessness that tugged at their shoulders and peeped from their downcast eyes said that here were the losers.

No matter how wise, virtuous, and prudent we are, all of us at some time or other appear to suffer losses. But these losses need not mean defeat. As the biblical story of Job illustrates, some people see loss and failure as God-sent and therefore unavoidable, or they believe that losses are brought on by sin, either their own or someone else's. Still others think losing or winning depends on luck: either you have it or you don't. Perhaps some of those defeated men at the courthouse square held this latter view.

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