Pretty Packages


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Wendall Sexton

Hypatia Society

Blessings arrive not always in pretty packages. At times, they are seen not in the light of blessing at all. Rather, they are the annoyance. They are the asinine ramblings of incoherence. Their mere presence digs into the outer layers of the flesh, boiling the blood to an inflammation of the heart. Can escape be attained through a good whack at the arm or a sonorous bellow from out of the mouth? Not in the least. Any efforts to extract the one from the other would prove as disastrous, and as impossible, as removing the soul from the spirit. The two are intertwined as inexplicable pieces of one another, dependent upon the other for life. The two are brother and sister.

The latest example of this eon-laden rivalry is found in the brother/sister tandem of Brandon and Kaitlyn Wagle. Fourteen years of age and eleven respectively, these two siblings compete, not simply in their personal lives at home, where every interaction is a contest of wills; they challenge one another on the playing field, utilizing the classic weapons of Olympic antiquity, the shot put and the disc, in their fight.

Brandon, as the elder of the two, began his study of this warfare innocently at the young age of seven. The opportunity was granted him as he stepped through the third grade of school; and now, following an additional seven years of hard work, coupled with incessant determination for success, twenty-six medals purport evidence to this young man's innate talent and skill. He knows the art of competition necessary for throwing against what resistance is faced. Sometimes he wins. Sometimes his opponents win. Always, though, he is recognized as a threat, a clear challenge to capture the gold on any given day.

His sister Kaitlyn has followed in her older brother's footsteps with an even more astounding degree of success. Since her own initiation into the challenge, also at the age of seven, she often out throws second place by ten to fifteen feet in the weight of the shot and twenty to twenty-five feet through the flight of the disc. Her four years of effort have garnered her twenty-two medals, new state records, statewide recognition, and a chance now at a national title -- if not, also, accompanying national records. She is a undaunted winner today and a clear champion on the horizon of tomorrow. None her age is any better; and with continued hard work, only the sky itself can constrain the new distances reached.

Manifestation of such success is a mystery to those of us who never held it in our hands. All are born with a skill and a talent, a purpose in life to which he should excel. Most, unfortunately, fail to realize even a tittle of its fruition for one reason or the next: a lack of faith is often at the top of the list. There is a failure to believe in what cannot be seen. A lack of motivation, many times, hints at another. The desire to achieve something greater than the day before simply does not exist. The status quo reigns as supreme. It precedes the big lie broadcast by the lack of competition saying victory is preordained. Hard work is merely a fallacy made up by those who never win.

Such people fail to succeed, as such people fail to follow-through.

Kaitlyn Wagle discovered her success in a relatively simple way: she never succumbs to the excuse-laden faltering of the throngs. The attack she mounts excels her past what drops them into their complacency, as she fights with a fiery brazenness, resolved to accept nothing less than the absolute best, thanks to the inescapable presence of her brother.

Brandon is more than just Kaitlyn's brother. He is also her coach. It is his knowledge and experience of the craft, teaching her the fundamentals any sport demands; and it is that same presence upon which her extraordinary success thrives. For no other competition exists aside from that which resonates between a brother and a sister. They hate each other, and yet they love each other. They call one another stupid and dumb to their face, while secretly beaming with pride at every moment of triumph over some arduous struggle. Kaitlyn's competition propelling her forward is her brother: secondary in the actual physical distance thrown; primarily through the natural friction the rivalry always creates. Not all blessings do arrive in pretty packages.

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

--Albert Einstein