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.
You don’t start out the best at anything. The only way to get better is to work at it. Things take practice and patience, trial and error, falling down and getting up. Three years ago this April, I fell and could not get back up. I needed help, which included a repair to the hamstring tendon which had become detached from its site of origin. Sewing and bit of skeletal carpentry would be necessary. (I also began blogging then. You can find that story here.)
Today, the attachment is good as new, but not the hamstring. Oh, it works pretty well. I can run and jump and play without concern. Just every now and then, when I get in just the wrong position, it panics and balls itself up. This is inconvenient and can be a bit embarrassing because there is no inciting event. Nothing startles or irritates. I am just sitting or getting up or kneeling and bingo. Hello says the hamstring and I am at its mercy.
This wouldn’t have surprised anyone back in the days when I hobbled around in a brace. They expected my gimpiness and disability. But now that I am healed, I should be good as new. Well, I am new, but I need to qualify that good. I am the product of repair. I bear the scars, inside and out, of all that life has hurled at me. And that is good. In fact, today I would say that is very, very good.
But oh my, the list. When I go to see a new doctor he wants to know my “history.” Not just of this ailment, but of all the things that have ailed me. What hurts, what has malfunctioned, what’s been repaired, modified, extracted. All that’s ever gone wrong I’m supposed to write on those few puny lines. Oh, if he only knew. Then he would know me.
So, in these days after Easter, I am sitting vicariously with those cowering 11 disciples in the Upper Room. Had I been fortunate enough to be among them in those days, I surely would have been around that table, worrying, lamenting, fearing the worst, right along with them. And suddenly Jesus is among them. They weren’t expecting that, clearly weren’t expecting him. In fact at first they didn’t recognize him. Here’s how John recounts it:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ~ John 20:19-22
Once he showed them his hands and side, they “saw” him. I had always thought that Doubting Thomas was the only slow one, but apparently not. They didn’t know it was Jesus, it seems, until He showed them his wounds.
And so I think of my “wounds.” After I die, this is how people will be able to positively identify me. Regardless of the lifeless state of my physical body, people will know me by the dental work I have had done, the thumb tendon I had replaced, the bunionectomy that realigned my right big toe, the scar over my right eye where that girl headed me in the head playing soccer in college, the C-section lines where emerged two of my children, and yes, the stitch marks where they sewed back my damaged hamstring tendon. They will know me by the marks on my hands and feet, the scar on my forehead and the gashes in my butt and belly. They will know me by my wounds, that have been healed. The evidence remains.
How compassionate of the Living Christ to show this to those cowards in the Upper Room. See these? Now you go and live life, battle scars and all. That’s how they’ll know you have lived, just as it is how you know that I live.
When we bolt the doors against fear, we don’t keep hurt out, we lock ourselves in. Thank goodness God broke in to show us the Way out!
I just love opening the package of pretty much anything. New, sparkling, fresh, full, smooth, untouched, pristine. I have never been a consignment store shopper, perhaps for this reason. Call me spoiled. 99.9% of the world certainly would.
But once it’s opened, I rarely throw it away. Yes, consumables I toss, but I recycle what I can. Clothing that’s too small, I give away. Out of style, my kids would tell you, is likely still in my closet. If it still fits, I still have it. If it needs repair, I mend it (or ask someone to help who is more gifted in this area than I). Tossing something that is still serviceable goes against the grain.
Apparently, I come by this honestly. This week I am down visiting with my Dad who lives in the Atlanta suburbs. He has been a golfer (of sorts) for 50+ years. As long as I have known him 🙂 And now, at 78, he still plays regularly with a group of guys. His participation over the last few years has been interrupted by some serious health scares. Truth be told, we should have lost him several times over.
We’re talking after his Sunday round about simplifying club selection.
“Inside 120, I reach for an iron,” I say.
“Well…I have a problem from 90 down to 40 yards. I use my 34 degree metal and just choke down. I shank the rest of my irons.”
I’m laughing at the thought of this nearly 80 year old man, bunting the ball all the way onto the green. Mind you, he carries the regulation 14 clubs, but he only uses about 5 of them. If they don’t work, he shelves them and makes do with the one that does. He improvises.
“Have you considered correcting your swing?” I ask, in not exactly these words. Correction is not something he takes easily to.
“No one can see me hitting it with the hozzle,” he says. (which is what causes shanking)
So, since no one can see it happening, this must be out of his control. Therefore, compensation is the solution. Enter: 34 degree metal. (what I used to call “a wood.”) Right on down to 40 yards.
While this cracks me up, it’s completely logical to him. He just makes do with what works. And that works. He is a self-sufficient guy and this is sufficiency.
Reminds me of Paul, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” ~ (Phil 4:11) Another way to say that the solution is there, whatever your need. Trust this. Find it and make do.
This golf-specific compensation might go unnoticed if I didn’t also observe it in most everything my dad does. He has been a fix-it guy all his life. Replacing things is just not his way. Doesn’t work? Well, modify it so it does.
Apparently, this nature of my dad’s has been passed along to me, right down to my “mom jeans” that still hang in the closet. And actually, to my visit with my dad this week. I look at this man, who in his sleeping, dreams about the days when the world rewarded his clever capacity to problem solve and turn companies around. Now, he sits in Starbucks most mornings and converses with folks, some of whom need a bit of life guidance. He’s still fixing. Toss and replace just aren’t in his vocabulary.
This is so contrary to the world I see whizzing by my window. The one that rushes for the next iPhone, the latest upgrade, the newest fashion. Market forces, new start-ups and trending on twitter drive the pace. Whatever has gone before is obsolete. That would include my dad. And me, soon to follow.
Obsolescence. Waste. Worthlessness. I feel sure these were never God’s idea. Yes, we decline. But when we’re no longer shiny, new and pristine, we are still serviceable.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2 Cor 4:16-18.
What we will be remains to be seen … In the meantime, I’m gonna see if I can help Dad with those shanks. I think he can still break 90. Whether he can ever shoot his age is up for grabs.