Collective Joy

Thailand soccer boysThey’re out. All twelve boys and their soccer coach are free. What is it about that news sends me to the verge of tears?

  • I’m a soccer coach. I have taken my teams on excursions as team building opportunities. None of these have gone badly wrong, but they could have.
  • I’m a parent. I cannot possibly imagine the angst of these parents and the roller coaster of emotions as they were lost, then found. Located and rescued.
  • I’m a human and I find human interest stories riveting, especially when the stakes are high and there is a happy ending. I am desperate for good news.

Yes, this captures all of me. And to have this play out, the rescue literally occurring between games in the Men’s World Cup competition, is just astonishing. At the one time when our collective sporting world has all eyes turned in one direction, the final week of matches, we all — and I mean all — expire the collective breath we’ve been holding.

They’re free! The boys are free. Hallelujah!

There is just something that happens to us when, in a time when all seems lost, a thing we desperately desire is found. Not by magic, but by effort, by toil, by ingenuity, by reasoning, by sacrifice, by teamwork, by capability, by prayer and by waiting. When the odds are stacked against us and we overcome them, it’s miraculous. This moment has captured us because we know it, even though we don’t know them.

We know that lives matter, that life matters. Though yes, we might pause to consider how to prevent these circumstances from repeating themselves in the future, today we hear the good news of their rescue and we cry out, unbidden, unprompted, and unrehearsed.  Pure JOY! It sounds the same in every language.

Oh, how I hope these boys are able to attend the World Cup championship game, to which, I understand, they have been invited. Just imagine the moment of their introduction. The moment when the love of sport and the love of children collide in a terrific outpouring of love.  When we join together in a collective roar from supporters of all teams, all children, all parents, all coaches, and all of humanity everywhere.

What joy there is in heaven, we’re told, when the one who has been lost is found. The news today is good news: the ones who had been lost are found and now free. What is that feeling I’m feeling and so are you? It’s joy. Pure joy.

I wonder what these boys will now do with the lives that have been given back to them, don’t you? One thing’s for sure: the Wild Boars will be tough to beat in their next game. In fact, one wonders whether any of them will make their own appearance on the pitch in a future World Cup match.

Starting today, don’t count out Thailand.

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Don’t let me interrupt

Don’t let me interrupt.
I’ll wait.
When there’s a lull in the conversation, I’ll speak up.

IMG_4757How often I patch the hole in my day, the opening in my calendar, even the moment between my bites with something to do. Something to keep my mind occupied. Something to entertain me. Or with just plain filler. While I’ve got a few minutes, let me clean out my inbox.

God doesn’t shout over what I’m doing, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, or what I’m listening to. God waits. Waits for me to finish. To take a breath. To leave a space. To rest from all that I am creating.

In our rat-a-tat world, this feels like wasted time, doesn’t it?  I think I need more “wasting-time.” Unplugged, uncommitted, unfilled. The time I leave is never wasted when I open it to its possibilities.

I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere.
Don’t let me interrupt.
When there’s a lull in the conversation,
I’ll speak up.

Love,
God

Lead ME not into temptation

The Lord taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” ~ Matthew 6:13. It’s the oddest of requests really. Why in the world would God ever lead us INTO temptation? Do we really need to request that God not?

DSC00180Yet, I have been feeling a bit tempted lately. For me this generally begins with a thought. When the thought occurs, I know it is temptation. It is not nice or not helpful to think it, but it doesn’t seem all that bad, really. As long as I don’t act on the thought.

Well, temptation is a slippery slope, and like most slopes, if you stop yourself before it gets too steep, you have a better chance of not falling. So, I had this other thought. What if, whenever I felt tempted, I just spoke the words to myself: “Lord, lead me not into temptation…”?

Worth a try, right? Well, the instant I adopted the practice, I was astounded at the frequency with which I put this to use. It’s a bit embarrassing. In just a few hours, I was tempted:

  • to complain about the kids blocking the aisle
  • to chastise the smokers in the parking lot
  • to judge the outfit
  • to find fault with the other patron
  • to lose my patience
  • to take advantage
  • to blame
  • to run ahead of God
  • to seek validation and admiration
  • to gossip
  • to compare
  • to rush to be done and submit less than my best
  • to be selfish
  • to dismiss another by talking over them
  • to dodge my responsibility
  • to neglect
  • to steal by plagiarizing
  • to worry

Wow! Think of the evil I was delivered from! Ha. And I thought I was doing pretty well. (see validation/admiration above) Guess this is gonna be a greatest hit on my prayer list.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

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