On Saturday, I wrote to you about a difficult conversation I had with one of my children’s coaches. If you missed it, click here, to catch up. Otherwise…
How did the conversation go? You are wondering.
It went well!
And…it was exhausting.
There were several points of exhaling before responding. Sinking into my chair, straining to open my ears so I could truly hear what he was saying.
Listen, listen, listen; something in me kept whispering (magically, without getting in the way of actually listening).
Listen to him, yes. But, also listen for the truth beyond what either of us said. The truth that would ultimately guide us to the best decision for my daughter and her future—a future far greater than basketball skills, college scholarships, and worldly successes. These things are nice. Goodness knows we could use the financial help of a sports scholarship.
But none of it is good if it sacrifices her soul development—the eternal in her—now.
Not long ago, my pastor read a quote in one of his sermons (I will not write it as a quote, since I did not record it word for word) that stated: the most pagan thing we do as Christians is live like our tomorrows are guaranteed.
This is a hard statement to absorb. Almost everything we do is about securing our tomorrows: save for college, retirement, plan our vacations, continuing our education….To do otherwise seems absurd.
Yet, I felt the gravity and truth of that quote in the middle of my conversation with the coach. It was right there, woven into the predictable talk of amazing natural talent, fostering skill development, exposing her to heightened levels of play, and—wait for it—future scholarship opportunity.
Great. Except, is it?
I’ve been involved in the sporting life for years now—decades, even, if you count the years I’ve spent watching my collegiate athlete husband. I’ve seen how a particular sport has been the catalyst to move the person I love closer towards wholeness and soul-filled living. And, I’ve seen the opposite. I’ve watched my loved one I love cling to a sport like poor Lennie in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men—holding objects of his affection (mice, puppies, people) so hard and tight, he literally chokes them to death.
When we forsake the health of our souls today for securing our future tomorrows, it all becomes meaningless; chaff in the wind.
Is it really a future worth having, if you walk into it with a bankrupt soul?
The conversation ended with this mutual understanding—my daughter’s present development as a whole person would be the driving force behind any decisions we make regarding her future involvement in travel sports.
So, are we doing travel basketball? We’ll see. It all depends on whether or not the travel basketball of his design will be a thing to help foster her soul into wholeness. I imagine we’ll know the answer when it comes time.
But here’s the thing, without that difficult conversation—without the clarity offered me by staying present—I would have never realized the truth, and contentedness, of this position.
Copyright 2018 by Shari Dragovich