I have been walking among giants this week. Literally.
I am surrounded by fame. The funny thing is, I don’t have the urge to run and get its autograph. In fact, I keep my distance. Here, at the national soccer coaching convention, everyone knows who these people are, but they’re revered for their contributions, not just their accomplishments. People follow them, but from a respectful distance.
What is it that compels us to swarm famous people to get their autograph? We want “our moment” with them and we want to prove that it happened. So we can show people that greatness paused to attend to us. We were right there with them. Perhaps we want to suspend that moment in time, hold onto it longer, remind ourselves that it happened.
Somehow this has me thinking of James, John and especially, poor Peter, the disciples invited into the moment we call “transfiguration.” When an illuminated Jesus met up with pals Moses and Elijah on a mountaintop Peter, dumb-founded but ever action-oriented, offers to build dwellings for the three. Why not help them get cozy and stay a while?
Peter did what we do when dazzled by the brilliance of the moment in the presence of magnificence, we act stupid. We can’t help it; our brain takes a break and leaves us fumbling for words.
Which has me wondering if, now knowing that I can resist the urge to accost celebrities in the halls of the convention, I could apply my new found discipline if Jesus strolled my way. Am I over that need to prove that I met him by trying to suspend the moment? Would I ask for an autograph? I sure hope not. I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t be giving them out, but still. So what would I do?
Well, the last day of the convention, I couldn’t help myself. As I exit my session I see Tony DiCicco, head coach of the 99ers, the women’s world cup winners that inspired millions of girls onto soccer pitches all over the country, walking down the main hallway. He’s dressed in suit and tie, probably headed to teach a lecture session. No one else is with him, and he doesn’t seem hurried, so I did it. I crossed the main hall, and he stopped and looked at me.
He was smaller than I thought. Fit and handsome, but aged as I am. I touched his arm. “Thank you,” I told him, “Catch Them Being Good (his book about the women he coached to a world cup championship in 1999) has inspired everything I do.” It has.
He smiled, nodded his thanks, and went on his way. Humble man, that one. Huge legacy. Not really suited for fame. More for followers.
If I met Jesus, perhaps that would be a reasonable strategy: touch his arm and say, “Thank you. The Bible (that book about living a victorious life) has inspired everything I do.” It has.
Perhaps He’d smile His acknowledgement and go on His way. Humble man. Huge legacy. Not really suited for fame, more for followers.
I wonder if people ask for His autograph.