March 14, 2012
I had a heart-felt conversation this evening with my younger son as I was driving him to gymnastics practice. I just found out yesterday that his state final gymnastics meet is scheduled at a time that conflicts with a kick-off event that his older brother is the youth chairperson of this year. Upon telling him this, the gymnast was very disappointed and appeared to be on the verge of tears. However, after a few minutes of conversation he was able to see that while this was an important event for him, it was neither as big an event as Regionals (which we are taking an entire week’s vacation to drive to Nebraska for next month) for him, nor as big an event as the kick-off event is for his brother. Ultimately he decided it would be okay if I went to the kick-off and my husband goes to state.
I think it takes a lot of maturity for any human to be able to step back from our initial feelings of hurt and disappointment in any situation and to look at the bigger picture. Rick Warren begins his best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” by saying, “It’s not about you”. The point he goes on to make is that really life should be about God, not us, and that sometimes even other people take precedence over us. God delights in all people, and we all get our time. As much as we would each love to be in the spotlight all the time, life just doesn’t work that way. This is a point we have worked hard to impress upon our children, and I think one of the best lessons of competitive anything. Two years ago when our gymnast went to regionals, this time in North Dakota, he was crushed to take second place to the very kid that took second to him at state. We talked about everyone getting their turn. I think even at the age of nine he understood this.
Do you think Jesus felt like the top dog while he was being tried before Pilate, or while being beaten, or hanging on the cross? I doubt that he was doing any kind of victory dance, or singing “We are the champions – of the world”. We all face challenges and struggles and hard times. We face being second fiddle and having our thunder stolen and our toes stepped on. It’s just not about us. The universe was not designed exclusively for us to feel best. If it was, what kind of life would that be? The whole point of feeling special is that we are doing or accomplishing something unique. That can’t be the norm. But it is what makes those exceptional moments worth all the struggle.