Have you ever come across a situation, an opportunity, a moment that seemed perfectly orchestrated? Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, starting up small talk with the person sitting across from you whose also shuffling through the magazines and somehow that seemingly meaningless conversation leads to a “moment” where for just those 5 seconds you feel like you’ve met a kindred spirit. Searching everywhere – online, catalogs, stores – for a gift that will mark that occasion or holiday as memorable because of this special item from YOU…an epiphany hits you and you find it. Having a great day from top to bottom and when you turn in for the night, you look back on the day with a smile and you think “wow – this really was a good day!”
Then of course, there are the opposites… A day where NOTHING goes right – from spilling coffee on your shirt right before you walk out the door when you’re already 10 minutes late, to receiving bad news on a day where you couldn’t please ANYONE, to everything you touch going wrong. All you (I) want to do is crawl into bed and come out of the bedroom next week, but no – there is dinner to cook, homework to track down, laundry to — yeah, well anyway. Plenty of things around the house to remind you that you’re still “needed.”
But you press on, knowing tomorrow is a new day, that things could be worse and finding gratitude for what you do have. My heartbreak in all this is teaching my kids these things – the hard way – through letting life happen – and guiding them through the processing. I had this blessed opportunity last month. My son tried out for a sport in a competitive league. He is quite good, and not just because I think so. I have had plenty of people tell me how good he is. I have overheard conversations about him. I’ve seen players go after him because of how well he’s performed in a particular game. And I’ve seen how his peers treat him and play with him. In every conversation I have with him about his God-given talents and abilities, humility is the element I implement the most. Humility keeps his head from swelling, his feet on the ground, keeps him practicing and pushes him to be the kind of teammate everyone likes: helpful, encouraging, motivating. It seemed like this was the time for him to take things to the next level.
He did amazing in his tryouts. However, he wasn’t chosen for a team, and after checking my email all day for the announcement having to deal with my own disappointment on top of breaking the news to him was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. It truly seemed like it was his “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 – taken slightly out of context). He practices this sport all year, regardless of whatever other sport he’s participating. As parents, we have been encouraged to watch for and jump on these “teachable moments” to better shape the young minds and hearts that have been entrusted to us. You see a homeless person and you want to 1) shows ways to help the poor and homeless and 2) be grateful for what you have. A lie is discovered, and you can demonstrate the value of trust. With this kind of disappointment, my gut reaction was to first cry and then get angry and take action to reconcile the injustice. I did pull myself together, petitioned a prayer request from my husband and broke the news. My son was sad and then mad. The next day he was just deflated. I will admit that I did unload my gut reaction on a couple of friends. One was sweet and encouraging and sympathetic. The other was sympathetic but shared my frustration as well. Both equipped me for not overdoing my sympathy-frustration-disappointment-overencouragingpeptalk reaction so as to not alienate my son. Because at the end of the day, very little of what I say or even do will make this experience any better for my son. I am thankful because I have the tendency to keep talking until I’ve made a difference (usually the difference is being told I’ve talked too much and just need to be quiet). I did my parental pep talk, but it was only to tell my son how proud of him I was, how bad I felt for him and to let him know what his options were. He bounced back rather quickly, as he usually does, and whether it was my wise parenting or God’s intervention in the way He made my kid I don’t know…But he got to experience a little bit of adulthood, and perhaps that was the intended perfectly orchestrated situation.