Don’t Blink.

The season is done. We have travelled together from Nashville to Chicago, Notre Dame University, and Atlanta. We have washed piles of sweaty clothes and gear. Cheered until we were hoarse and poured over video of the games.

 

Hockey season is long. We start to feel it a little by the fifth month in, and yet after the last game we are always sorry the season is done. This year was one of our best, even though we didn’t win every game. Even though it was tough. Especially this last weekend.

 

We played three teams a division above us, and they beat us three games in a row. Then Sunday morning at the consolation game, it came together and we walked away from the last game of the season with a win.

 

What is the point of all of this? What is the point of the cheering and the raised blood pressure as we watch these kids skate like mad, take and give some major hits, shoot every chance they get and make some amazing saves? At the end of the day, what is the point beyond some bragging rights?

 

Oh, there are so many points. Especially as a homeschool family, there is so much value in sports, or arts, or drama, or music. We get to sit in the stands and watch our kids go out and give their all for something they love. Whatever that something is. For us, right now, it is hockey for the eldest. We get to watch as he takes instruction from someone else, as he learns things we cannot teach him. We get to watch as he bonds with a team and recognizes the responsibilities of being part of something beyond just himself.

 

We get to cheer him on.

We get to sit and watch our kids do something they love, and we get to stop the busyness of life and just watch. Just focus and watch our kids. Look at them and realize how incredibly wonderful it is to be a parent. The kids are working and sweating and learning lessons like responsibility and discipline and perseverance. The coach is taking over the moment for us and teaching and guiding.

 

We get to just watch. There are not enough moments where we get to do this. Our kids notice. It is important.

 

Even when they are losing.

We lost a lot this weekend. Three of the four games. And here is a second point to the worth of these activities. We need to learn how to lose and not have the world fall apart. We need to learn how to lose and get back up the next morning and try again. Our kids need to learn this. Three times the boys showed up, played hard…and lost. Then Sunday morning they showed up…and won.

 

I know. It’s just a game. Just a play. Just an art piece. Just a performance.

 

Nah. It’s life. I’m thankful for coaches who guide our kids, who make them work hard and yell at them when they are slacking or encourage them when they are trying. I’m thankful for groups of parents who come together and cheer and encourage and delight in our kids.

 

That’s what it comes down to. Zach isn’t going to make a career of hockey. This is a moment. We’ll blink and these days will be over.

 

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There is a Light that Heals

Sitting down with my good cup of coffee this morning, held in a mug which holds memories along with caffeine, I began to read. The world opened before me in the form of Facebook posts and Twitter comments. Instagram photos and news headlines.

Fear. Anger. Outrage. Concern.

A few with encouraging words, with hope of things deeper.

I have not written here in months. There are things I would like to write about, yet they do not seem to come together clearly yet. So I wait. More thoughts about Mom and the toll of Dementia. More thoughts about homeschool and the joys and challenges of that life. More thoughts about kids and faith and creativity and wonder….but they all seem overshadowed now.

In the past I have daily posted poems as we have moved through the Lenten Season. I have fasted from Facebook and other things, sharing the reasons and the results.

This year, Lent has seem swept aside by all the noise and debate and discussion of politics. There is so much there to parse and think about. I have no desire to add my voice to that debate, unless you want to sit with me over a cup of coffee and talk at length. There is not much I could say in 140 characters or a Facebook post that would clarify a candidate or a policy. Plus there are so many already saying so much, I just don’t want to add to the mix.

Instead…can I encourage you?

I needed it this morning. I turned to Malcolm Guite  who faithfully leads us through the seasons of the Church with poetry and insights. I needed this this morning. I needed to be reminded of the rhythm and the truth of a reality beyond politics. Don’t get me wrong…I understand the importance and participate in the responsibility of our elections.

Today though, I needed to be reminded “There is a light that heals, and, where it falls, transfigures and redeems the darkest stain into translucent colour.”

Possibly you needed a reminder as well.  If you click the link you can hear Malcolm read the poem as well.

Through the Gate

Begin the song exactly where you are

For where you are contains where you have been

And holds the vision of your final sphere

 

And do not fear the memory of sin;

There is a light that heals, and, where it falls,

Transfigures and redeems the darkest stain

 

Into translucent colour. Loose the veils

And draw the curtains back, unbar the doors,

Of that dread threshold where your spirit fails,

 

The hopeless gate that holds in all the  fears

That haunt your shadowed city, fling it wide

And open to the light that finds and fares

 

Through the dark pathways  where you run and  hide,

through all the alleys of your riddled heart,

As pierced and open as His wounded side.

 

Open the map to Him and make a start,

And down the dizzy spirals, through the dark

His light will go before you, let Him chart

 

And name and heal. Expose the hidden ache

To him, the stinging fires and smoke that blind

Your judgement, carry you away, the mirk

 

And muted gloom in which you cannot find

The love that you once thought worth dying for.

Call Him to all you cannot call to mind

 

He comes to harrow Hell and now to your

Well guarded fortress let His love descend.

The icy ego at your frozen core

 

Can hear His call at last. Will you respond?