Thursday, August 26, 2010

Play The Game or Sit Out For a Season?

Its football season again!! I never in my wildest dreams thought that football season could get me so wound up. My oldest son Cameron has always been my artsy, musical, somewhat wimpy type, so when he told me last year that he wanted to play football it threw me off guard just a little. I mean this is my son that gets a pin prick and cries like a little baby. This is the same son that shrinks back when someone looks at him the wrong way; the one that wants his future wife and children to reside with me because he isn’t going anywhere. He has always been my sweet little home grown mama’s boy… until puberty began to inhabit his innocent little body. It happens to all of us and now he’s growing into a young man with more testosterone than I know what to do with and subsequently he wants to play football.
Now here we are with a year of football under our belt and my skinny, wild haired little boy is now a tough, proud, still skinny, testosterone driven young man who plays middle linebacker on his school’s football team. This year, after only a couple of weeks into summer practice, he had an injury to his growth plate and a small hairline fracture on one of the bones leading to his wrist. We were both extremely disappointed. I had become the mom that can’t sit down in the bleachers because I need to see my boy play. I travel up and down the sidelines with the team so that I don’t miss a thing and can cheer wildly when the team needs it. Cameron has grown to really love football and didn’t want to be out for the season. We hadn’t even played our first game yet. So, the first thing he did when we visited the orthopedist was ask if he could still play football. To my surprise, the doctor said yes. He told me that they would put a fiberglass cast on his arm and before playing football he would have to cover it with ample padding so as to not injure the other players. Really? I thought my boy was the one that was injured here. I tell you, times sure have changed since I was a kid. I remember when a cast looked like the sheetrock from my walls and could fall to pieces with the slightest touch of a hand. Deciding not to take the mama bear protective approach, I determined that I would let him settle for himself what he was going to do. A week later he was back in the game practicing with his teammates as if nothing had happened. The only sign of an injury was this attachment on his arm that looked like a mallet or a club from Fred Flintstones garage. After a couple of practices I realized that this injury had turned out to be really positive for him. I began to see a young man on the field that gives everything he has within him to his team and to the game. I saw my once timid, shy and feeble little boy as a young man who is strong, bold, confident and committed to what he had become a part of. My boy was not going to let an injury keep him down. He was going to be there for his team and he was going to give it 110%; and he did. At yesterday’s practice I watched him sack the quarterback twice, break through the line at least ten times and intercept the ball from the opposing side. I had never seen him play like that before. You see, although a little timid at first, when he came back to practice with a cast on his arm and ready to play, his team mates began to encourage him. When he made his first tackle in the cast, the team cheered him on and the coach began to push him for more. His confidence began to build and he now plays the game, in my opinion, even better than he did before. He pushed through the pain of the wound, played the game and stayed committed to his team while still injured and from what I can see he will be a better player because of it.
What about us in our own lives? Do we let the wounds take us out of the game or do we keep playing? In life there will always be wounds. Usually more emotional wounds than physical but I have found that the physical are much easier to recover from. The emotional go much deeper into the heart and take a great deal more than a cast to heal, but the same principle applies. My son’s injury has taught me that when we get wounded, and we certainly will, that we have a choice to make. Are we going to be out for a season or are we going to go to the physician and ask if we can still play? Will we allow God bind up our wounds as the orthopedist did Cameron’s, and allow us to heal while we are still playing? Will our response be “please let me still play LORD” or will we let the wound dictate the path of life for us? My son’s response to the injury has taught me that if we push through the pain of our wound, continue to play the game of life while still wounded, stay committed to our team, whoever they may be, and allow God to wrap our wounds with soft padding so as not to injure anyone else, then we will come out on the other side bold and confident because of who we are in Christ and what he has done for us. We will come out having grown in our relationship with the healer as well as with our team that we have stayed the course with and through our teams encouragement and with God, our coach, pushing us for more because he wants us to grow, then we too will be a better player on our team and in the game of life.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.


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