Just practice. You’ll get it.
Some of the most powerful words ever spoken to me.
But I’m an adder.
I add, “if you practice, you’ll get it right.”
When I don’t, I get discouraged.
Because I can’t get it right.
If I did, I could stop practicing, but that is not the way.
So I try again, because trying it, and not just intending it, is how I will get it.
Oh, I could wait until someone else figures it out.
I could watch from my hiding place until it was safe to come out.
And I’d emerge, victorious.
There! I can do it, too!
But there would be no triumph.
I am not a hider, not just a survivor, I’m an engager.
In the engagement, I practice.
I got it.
I chose church over soccer this Sunday, and the show went on without me. Apparently, it was quite a physical affair, the Reston team persevering in the end by a 4-1 final score. My daughter Olivia scored one of the goals, so she says, and assisted on two of the others. But what she’s most proud of is defending the honor (and bodies) of her teammates. one in particular, whose playing style can be a bit annoying to the other team, I am sure. Apparently, annoyance turned physical and led to cautions and ejections.
My child sees her self as the “enforcer.” Really she is the defender. Any underdog, any where, is a cause for her concern. On this day that played out on the soccer field.
But I didn’t see it. What I saw instead was one droopy, white Mother’s Day flower which walked in with my sweaty but pleased daughter. The flower is a tradition with the Bobcats. Hand it to their big-hearted coach who makes sure the mother’s are recognized on their special day – which is always a travel team’s soccer day because it falls on a Sunday mid-May. He arrives with a dozen and a half and the players distribute them to their moms in the stands before play begins.
Of course, I wasn’t in the stands. I was in the pews. So my flower waited to greet me some hours later, droopy but not yet dead. My daughter and I both laughed as I got out the vase and stuffed it in, hoping the neck would be support enough for its fragile stem. But no, it drooped sadly.
Have no fear, Olivia to the rescue. Toothpicks, tape, twist-ties and a bit of ingenuity later, she has the stem stabilized and the droop managed. She learned this, she says, from her paternal grandfather who was a renowned Bonsai expert.
Next day, wouldn’t you know, the little lady is standing up almost straight. There, stabilized by a splint, wrapped with twist-ties, my flower beams happy Mother’s Day to me. And I beam back. It looks so like the newly repaired knees of the young women athletes I dearly love to train. Fragile to look at but so strong on the inside. A bit of special attention and they spring back to life.
This morning, my Mother’s Day flower greets me with yet another expression. Its pedals spread wide, so pleased to be beautiful, it is hugging me hello. Or maybe thank you. But probably, “Look out world, here I come!”
Never underestimate a rose. Or a child with a mind and heart to rescue.
It’s just an introductory song to get us going on a Sunday morning. High energy.
I was broken and you healed me…
I was dying and you gave me life,
Yeah, that ole God is always helping us out in our troubles. It was just killing me, we say. I was dying out there, we say. I was at the end of my rope, we say. We are masters at overstatement. Scary though, how overstatement can dull reality. People who are really broken and truly near death are not so casual. When we’re out of options, God isn’t. That’s the moment when “I was dying and you gave me life” has meaning. If you’ve had one of those moments, you know it.
But I’m looking around at all sorts of people who are dying. Not just the we’re-all-gonna-die some-day dying, but people who are absolutely gasping for air in their daily lives. They are swimming as fast as they can. Running as far as they’re able. Applying brain power and will power. Exerting all the force they can muster. They’re breathing hard, but they’re getting life done, by golly.
The scary thing is, they don’t know they’re dying. They think this is a stage or a season or a diligence that needs doing. Giving up this way of life is unthinkable. That would just kill them.
But God through Jesus says there’s life after death. And I don’t think He just has the eternal in mind. The death He’s referring to may feel very much like what we call life. When we give it up, that is invite in all the options, consider possibilities that “would just kill us” to engage, the new is right there.
The only sure death is to stick with what’s killing us. And that truth is obscured by the advice darkness gives to “just keep your heads down and your nose to the grindstone.” Darkness knows that looking up and giving up invites in the breeze of new.
Hey, God may not mean for us to stop doing what we’re doing. He may just be trying to get our attention. “Lookie! You’re alive after all!” Now, let’s get this moving in my direction.
And that’s just the beginning.