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Confessions Of A Broken Ping-Pong Ball
Thomas F. Fischer
- Number 337
- My name is Peter. Im a broken Ping-Pong ball. But I wasnt always broken.
- I used to be a perfect ping-ping ball. I was the best. And I wanted everyone around me
to think I was the best, too.
- I wanted people to play with me. I used to long to make people happy by bringing them
together to play ping pong. It didnt really matter who I brought to the ping pong
table. The important thing was that I would make them happy.
- It was such fun being a ping pong ball. If you could see the faces of those who played
ping pong while I bounced back and forth between them. Sometimes they would be happy,
others times sad. Sometimes they were angry, other times they were mad.
- I didnt like it when they were sad and angry. It made me feel anxious and scared.
When they were sad, I wondered if it was something I had done. Maybe I bounced wrong.
Maybe I spun too much. Perhaps I bounced too many times. Or maybe I went to fast or too
slow. There was really no way to know.
- But I wanted them to be happy. Deep in my soul I knew that if they werent happy, I
couldnt be happy either. I wanted the players to think that ping pong was the best
game one could play and that I was the best ping pong ball they could ever have.
- Was I The Best?
- Though I was white and perfectly circular, I wasnt sure if I was the best or not.
I wasnt even sure if anyone would want me. After all, maybe there were better ping
pong balls. Maybe they would want a different color. Maybe theyd want a different
manufacturer. Maybe they just wouldnt like ping pong balls at all. Oh, that would be
so very, very painful if that were true.
- What if they didnt use me? What if they left me on the shelf? What if they found a
ping pong ball that was better?
- Just thinking about it made me feel worthless and ugly
and afraid. Oh, on the
outside I looked like an y other ping pong ball. Inside, however, I was afraid that
someone might find out the secret I kept thinking inside: that I was just a stupid,
worthless ping pong ball.
- I didnt want that to happen. How could I ever deal with the pain
- To keep the painful truth from coming out, I focused my entire life on one objective: to
be the best ping pong ball I could be.
- And that I was. Every time there was a ping pong game, I asked that they use me. I
begged, pleaded, gave and sacrifice everything I could just to be sure they used me for
all their games. I wanted to be their most cherished ping pong ball. I gave up everything
just for that.
- Those who have played ping pong know the kinds of things ping pong balls experience.
Sometimes the ping pong ball gets hit gently over the net. Sometimes you get
spunforward and backwards. Sometimes you get smashed against the opponent. Sometimes
you get hit off the table, slammed against the wall and stepped on. Sometimes ping pong
players abuse the ping pong ball.
- But I didnt care. I just wanted both teams to keep playing. It wanted them to know
that as long as I was there, bouncing between them, everything would be OK.
- Something Changed
- My life as a ping pong ball would probably still be pretty much bouncing along as it
was. But one day something happened. No one came to the ping pong table to play. At first,
I thought nothing of it. "Ill just find another ping pong table where
theres others who want to play with me."
- But everywhere I went, sooner or later, the painful realization returned. Nobody wanted
me to be their ping pong ball anymore. There was nobody left anymore who would play.
- I cried as I thought of all the players I had tried to make happy. They laughed and made
- "How could they have done it without me?" I wondered. "But now
theyve left me." I thought of those players who became champions
because I was willing to let them hit, practice, use and abuse me. But they were nowhere
to be found.
- "After all Ive done for them, how could they do this too me?" "I
gave them the very best I had. Look where they are! See what I did for them! And look what
they did to me!" The most painful thing was when I saw those I had helped playing
with a different ping pong ball.
- I was enraged. I yelled, screamed and put up all kinds of tantrums. When I recognized
that no one was there to hear my anger, I was faced with the most painful realization. I
was alone. I had been abandoned, rejected and cast away. "What did I do to deserve
this?" "I gave the very best I had and look what theyve done to me."
- I felt like I never wanted to play ping pong again. It was too painful to be hit around.
It was too painful to try to be with others and make them happy. I was too tired and weary
to try to make people happy by letting them paddle me around anyway they wanted. No matter
how hard I tried, I couldnt make them happy.
- In my loneliness I also recognized that I couldnt make myself happy, either. But I
never considered that before. I was so used to being a ping pong ball that I never
considered being anything else. "Wasnt that what God wanted from me?" I
asked. "I gave my whole life to be the best ping pong ball I could be. Certainly that
counts for something!" I thought.
- The further I got from the ping pong table, the lonelier I got. It was painful. But to
return to the ping pong table only meant more of the same rejection, abuse and
people-pleasing. I knew I didnt want that pain anymore. Though it sometimes felt
good for the moment, though I could survive the slams, the smashes and the painful smack
of the players paddles, I decided I couldnt keep on going. Sooner or later I
would crack. I couldnt bounce anymore.
- But, in spite of my resolve, I did go back to the table one more time. By chance, a
couple of familiar players came by. I asked them to play a game with me. They did
after just a couple of volleys, they hit me so hard that I cracked in two. Even if I
wanted to bounce, I couldnt anymore.
- When I realized I could no longer be a ping pong ball. I recognized that I had no more
purpose. In fact, the more I thought of it, I realize I had wasted my entire life bouncing
between players instead of asking what I should really be doing.
- I was profoundly alone in my brokeness. I knew there was no way to fix what I was
without a major miraculous change. I tried everything to fix the cracks and splits on my
surface. I tried tape, Band-Aids, glue
anything. It tried putting stuff inside me
that might somehow cover the hurt. But everything I tried worked only for a few moments.
- As long as I still wanted to be a ping pong ball, I realized Id experience the
same pain. There would be no long-term relief. Just pain
and more pain
- You Don't Have To Be A Ping-Pong Ball
- One day it occurred to me. I didnt have to be a ping pong ball anymore. In fact,
in my broken condition I found that I was less susceptible to be used by others. I
discovered that since I wasnt trying to make everyone else happy that now I could
focus on what would make me happy.
- The more I searched, the more I wondered. "God, what is it that you will have me
do?" The search took a long time. But I was determined not to go back to the ping
pong table. For once in my life, I was going to find out what God had planned for me.
- In my deep aloneness, I found that I wasnt really alone after all. God just needed
to break me and take me away from my hurtful ping pong habits so that, in my loneliness, I
would find Him.
- The truth is, though, that He found me. Broken, smashed, depressed without even a hint
of a bounce left, God showed me His calling for me. I was amazed what God had in store for
- After all, how could God use a broken up, smashed and worthless ping pong ball?
- How I've Changed
- Im still a ping pong ball. But I dont bounce the way I used to. In fact, I
dont bounce at all. But my weakness is my strength. And my strength, my only
strength, is Gods strength.In the final analysis, I guess I have to admit I am a
ping pong ball. But Im not like the other ping pong balls because I'm broken now.
- I dont allow others to bounce me around. I dont need to have to make others
happy by bouncing me around as they choose. Most importantly, I dont need to cover
up my own personal pain of loneliness and fear of rejection by letting others play, use
and abuse me. No matter where they might try to hit meor however hard they
tryI will go my direction, not theirs. Though they get upset, I will go
God wants me to go. Why? Because thats where the joy is.
- Would you like to be a former ping pong ball, too? Just leave the table, face the pain,
and let God find you in your broken loneliness. When He finds you, Hell make you the
most useful and beautiful ping pong ball anyone can ever imagine. Youll be amazed at
the new bounce that God has planned for your life!
- Thomas F. Fischer
Index Articles 1-49
Articles 50-99 Articles
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:04:23 PM