Point of View: No Problem

“I’m hitting the ball better than I ever have and I can’t move,”

Ulf Nilsson, the Swedish Paralympics’ sled hockey team’s 53-year-old goalie, said, when questioned by a Times sportswriter, Ben Shpigel, that “the best would be to combine the speed I had when I was young and the knowledge I have now . . . that’s the problem with everything.”

Indeed. “I’m hitting the ball better than I ever have and I can’t move,” I said to a tennis-playing peer the other day. He laughed. As did I.

So, it is true, what’s been said: Form is content, and I should be content with that, no longer being at odds with myself, discordant and cranky, regretting I don’t move as I used to. To hit the ball well is enough, more than enough. 

My late mother-in-law, who hit the ball well too, was once credited with having the greatest gift, the ability to make a beautiful day. And my wife has also been credited with having a great gift — the ability to make people feel good about themselves, to feel, in a word, beautiful. And that’s the truth.

General Loewenhielm in “Babette’s Feast” speaks of infinite grace. My father did too, inspired by the smile of Sister Marie Joseph, as he lay in a hospital bed in France — a smile of infinite grace instantly redeeming.

Mary had that feeling too the other morning, a feeling of bliss, a moment when everything was all right. I told her those moments were momentary, but why did I? She, who invariably makes people feel good about themselves, ought, above all, to feel good about herself, embraced as she is in infinite grace, for more than a moment.

A moment of grace, then, and the discordant doubts and fears and enmities and the ambient cacophony reassert themselves. 

No wonder nations can’t get along, her father once said: We can’t even get along with ourselves.

We should be happy, I suppose, for even a momentary sensation of reconciliation, when the racket and ball kiss each other, when, as the general said, “grace takes us all to its bosom and proclaims general amnesty.”