Author of: The Notes They Played - a lyrical collection of short stories & The Impossible - a what-if story of the triumph over fear

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Which Story Do You Need to Tell?

I'm probably going to have to tell my husband he's right today. And, the prideful girl in me would much rather just keep quiet. For several weeks now, we've been at odds. Instead of treating disagreements like minor debates between friends, we've begun to disagree in the way of Heavyweight Champions - carrying out knock down, drag out battles that leave us wounded, and  with ringing ears. My heart has been heavy. I know that we are supposed to disagree civilly; to not take differing opinons personally; to be respectful of others' ideas. I can do this with my girlfriends beautifully. No problem. My interpretation of my husband's demeanor when he states his opinions, always leaves me feeling inconsequential. Something about his tone makes it seems like my ideas are pesky lint on his collar. Annoying; easily brushed off. It makes me irate. I know part of it is that we are both first born children; innately "boss." We are used to being right. We are used to being listened too. Even after nearly 13 married years.

One of the subjects that has been especially sore is how one of our sons is being treated by his soccer coach. He's playing on a highly competitive team. At the beginning of the season, he started for every game. As the season wore on, he was played less and less. And last week he didn't get any field time at all. Oh my goodness!

I'm a Mama Bear, so I want to shout from the rooftops about how unfair his coach is being. I want to confront the coach day after day, hour after hour, until he puts my son back where he "should be." I want to call the director of the program. I want to do whatever I can to make this situation palitable for me sweet, broken-hearted son and make that confidence crushing coach pay.

My husband is being "objective" (his word, not mine). He says that our son was given the opportunity to start and that he did not play to his full potential, he played safe and he played timid. It's true, he was a big fish in a small pond and jumped his way into a humungous pond, where he was less than average in size. It was a shock at first. It took him a while to step up. And, he disappointed people in the process. But, mostly, he disappointed himself.

I think his coach is teaching him a lesson. He's punishing him. He's determined that my kid may not be quite up to the challenge, even as he's proving himself practie after practice; game after game. And, he's limiting his playing time accordingly. I believe we, as his parents, should FIGHT FOR HIM! What does it say about us if we jsut sit idly by and watch this man break our son's heart?

My husband, while he doesn't agree with the tactic, is willing to let our son flounder in this ocean of revenge in the interest of personal growth. No. He doesn't agree with the coach. Yes. He believes our son has phenomenal ball sense. Yet, he believes this hunger that's building up while our son sits the bench will serve him well in life.

Please recall that last week, my son did not play for even 5 minutes. Today neither of us could be at his game. I dropped him off at the house of a teammate so that he could ride with them. My heart broke. What if he sits the bench again? For the entire game? I won't be there to console him just by being there. The same anger that bubbles up in me at the oddest times - while I'm vaccuuming, in the shower, driving around town - resurfaced. I want to give that coach a piece of my mind.

But, my husband's words began to wash over me and I actually listened to them. In life, you seize opportunities. You fight. You don't always get what you want. You aren't always treated fairly. People become disappointed in you. They give up on you. But, YOU determine how you handle circumstances. YOU persevere. Actions resound. Words dissipate.

Our son will not be on this team forever. He will not live with us forever. But, he will have to live with himself for his entire life. The things we teach him now, will remain with him forever. My husband keeps saying, "He will overcome this. If he works hard and believes, by God's grace, he will be exceptional." This is temporary - the coach, the team, even the sport.

Because I am a God girl, this was a God sepaking to me moment. For some reason, in the car alone, feeling as if I had abandoned my son, my husband's words reminded me of what God would  say to me -

2 Corinthians 4:
(1) Therefore, having the ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.
(17) For this momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (18) as we look not tothe things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things hat are unseen are eternal.

And, I can share this verse with my son. I can remind him that God can be (MUST BE) applied to every aspect of our lives. That adversity is God's way of drawing us closer to Him. Period.

And part of being closer to God is being able to relate to and guide others in His ways. Every adversity we face as children of God can be used to help someone else. Because Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another's burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ. We have to be there for each other.

If Mama Bear had her way, the cub's story would be that one day he picked up a soccer ball and began to play with it and then, like magic, he was on his way to soccer stardom. He would never have a bump in the road. He would always be victorious. But, thank God for Jesus (and for dads). My son's story, like all of our stories, must be peppered with challenges that he overcame by drawing closer to God, by being steadfast. A story as small as having an unforgiving soccer coach might be a blessing to someone else one day.

And, my husband is right. He's right. And, I am wrong. But, just this once.