Soccer has been a family passion since my kids were first introduced to the beautiful game years ago. All of them played; each found a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in the team effort.
My job was to cheer my kids with all the affirmation and hefty decibel level I could muster.
The enjoyment continues with several of the grands now playing.
But I’m finding I have less capacity to deal with the environment than I did when my kids were in the game.
This past weekend, I joined my daughter to watch her son play; he’s a remarkable keeper with the exact personality that someone who stands in the goal needs. A little cocky, remarkably confident, a wonderful sense of humor.
But it rained. Not just a little rain. It poured, with gale-force winds creating a challenge to visibility on the field. Heather and I stood on the sidelines, soaked and freezing, as wind-whipped rain found every inch of us. We could barely see what was happening on the field because of the intensity of the downpour.
We gave up about halfway through the first half. We parked the car so we could see the field from inside the dry space, the wipers constantly on to catch glimpses of the game.
Teagan made some amazing saves. The ball was slippery; every time he grabbed it, he appeared to be juggling it. But he didn’t allow any goals to be scored against him.
We felt confident they’d call the game at halftime. The ball couldn’t be passed as expected; there was so much water on the field that it would mire in deep puddles and not move forward. Every player was struggling to run through the quagmire of mud and grass; their shoes were waterlogged.
The game went on. It finished, in spite that the rain never did. Teagan’s team won because they figured out how to deal with the water on the field.
It’s so easy to quit. To not push through when the going gets tough. Unlike Teagan, it’s often more frustrating to figure out how to work with our new normal than to adapt and grow with what new awareness we have.
It’s also easy to go all bad on a situation. To shift blame to the circumstances over which we have no control. That puts us in a victim mentality where we condemn others and lay responsibility at their feet rather than embracing what we can do.
God understands how unfair life is. He’s given us free will to choose what paths we take, what we will believe, what and who we will follow. He has also provided a means for us to find wholeness in this life through a relationship with Him.
There’s no honor in blaming others for our bad situations. We’re all complicit in making life harder for each other. Our selfishness and entitlement often prevent us from seeing the pain we cause others with our choices.
How amazing would it be if we ceased to focus on the wrong and bad in each other and focus on Who has given us a platform of commonality and unity?
That’s how to truly play on.