Saturday, August 31, 2013

Play by Play

Jeremiah 29:11

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and ahope.

One thing a sports announcer does is give you a play by play of the game.  He reports the events of the game to you and you feel as if you are there. That is what I want to do about the events of and leading to this most eventful day of the Ring of Honor.

It began last week.  One of my children decided they would make this great day of honor, to my husband, even more rememberable.  She would go to Texas and get our granddaughter and surprise him on the field at the time of the honoring.  My other children did not agree with this.  They wanted it to be before the game for various reasons.  Then the debate began.  I tried to stay out of it and say you kids decide.  They each had their good reasons. They even went as far as to say if this is not done this way I am not going. This continued until the day before she was suppose to go get our granddaughter.  The debate grew stronger in how this should be handled.  There was no compromise.  We were all getting angry with each other demanding our own way.  

I was so discouraged and perplexed I ask others to pray.  I said they are so angry.  I think I maybe angry too. The bottom line, I was not trusting God.  I, we all want this to be a special day for my husband.  I said we are angry.  The bickering must stop.  This is about your dad and we must focus on him.  They each thought this is what they were doing in their own way.  I was at loss and powerless to make this work or get all of us there in one piece.

Today came.  Many were praying.  The pieces all began to fall into place.  This would happen before the game.  We all would go.  I was going one step at a time just feeling the prayers of many step by step.  I was beginning to trust God to give His grace.  I didn't know how this would play out but starting to know it would be His best for us all.

My husband was waiting for my daughter to come so he they could ride to the game together.  She had ridden 5 hrs to pick my granddaughter up in the plane of a friend and five hours back in one day.  I got the camera ready. I told him I wanted to take his and my daughters picture together. He argued with me about time. He became impatient to leave.  He paced the floor.  Walked down the drive way. I followed him and he did not like that at all.   He became more upset by the minute.  He went inside and they drove up the drive way.  I yelled to him my daughter was here.  They, my daughter and granddaughter, came through the house and met him outside.  It was the most wonderful surprise he could imagine.  He was thrilled, hugged her and hugged her.  Ya'll did a great job.  A great surprise for me. I took picture after picture and off to the game they went.  My son and his fiance picked me up.  I had ask people to pray the rain would stop.  I shared this.  My son said mom.  I said when you have hit bottom as I have you depend on God for everything.  I fail at this so many times.

We waited for the time to come and waited. Finally the time had come.   We all went on the field.  My husband said wait here.  He walked ahead.  My daughter said lets go.  I said he said wait.  She said we will miss it.  We gathered together as he took picture after picture with fan, player and press. The rain stopped.  The thunder did not roar, the darkness had lifted, the skies separated and it was a perfect game nite.   Why are you smiling?  People are taking pictures.  Fix my hair, it is so curly. This dang humidity.  Well, the rain stopped.  It really is perfect. The teams fans are blowing. Lets take a picture together.  What is he wearing?  Fix my hair. He is chewing tobacco.  His teeth will be yellow.  Player after player came up from 30 years ago.  Names came to my mind.  I couldn't believe it with a memory as bad as mine.  It was time to walk to the field.  Ya'll hold your shoulders up.  Go up there with dad.  You need to be with dad.  It is about him I don't need to be up there.  Get Mary Kathryn and go up with dad.

We were all lined up.  Time seemed to stand still as I looked to the 83,000 people.  More orange than I remember seeing before.  Do I clap, hold my hands, what is my husband doing, do I grab his shoulder, kiss him on the cheek? Somehow I want him to know how proud of him I am right at this moment, this electric moment.  I don't want to make a scene.  My grandson puts his arms around my shoulder.  Thank you for holding me up. I love you. Just wait this place is about to erupt.  I was at loss.  The moment came and the crowd roared and I remembered.  The wins, the losses, the too great a sacrifice of family and children for a job, how great it all had been, how I loved the players, staff and fans, we were a family.  Time seemed to freeze as it all passed before me.  I could not move.

This was one of the most wonderful days of my life.  It was perfect.  It was a kiss of heaven.  My children's hearts were soften toward each other, my friends were together and my husband was honored. The hugs and congratulation hand shakes went on and on.  Is there more, than Jesus, a woman, wife and mother could want.  We rushed to the police car and I realized it had ended. The name would remain on the stadium as long as the stadium stands, the memories, the pain, the mistakes, the victories, it all came to a close as we left.

A friend said she thought exhortation was one of my gifts.  I had to look it up.  I do think I am an encourager.  I want to encourage you now.  Athletics and competition is a beautiful thing. I think God absolutely loves competition.  He always wins and I think, He thinks it is awesome.   It provided for my family and gave us more than I ever thought possible.  We had money, fame, success, such wonderful friends we will have forever.  We sacrificed each other as a married couple and time with our children.  There was the good, wonderfully good, but the cost.  My husband and I both know this.  We are so thankful to his profession and all that goes with it but at the same time know we gave it too much of ourselves and those we love.

We are made to be a people that worship.  God seeks those who worship Him. The problem is we worship any and everything but God.  In this world there are many talented and gifted coaches and players.  They are to be enjoyed and recognized as that.  They are not to be worshiped.  We pay them too much money.  We give them too much time.  We sacrifice our families and our lives to be a part of them. We find significance in their wins. Our happiness depends on their victories.  They, the players,  give us the same. The pressure of it all to  be great and win is too much. The thirst for it all can never be satisfied or satisfy. We are all in search of something more.  Something more than we think God can give us. We try to find it in athletics.  We try to find happiness and significance apart from God.  I want to appeal to you to help me pass the message that this must be stopped.  We must place athletics at its rightful place in our lives and God at His.  He is the only One to be worshipped. 

I love Clemson, the staffs we had and all the many players.  The problem was not theirs but within our own hearts.  We were seeking something apart from God.  God has used all of it, the things we did right and wrong, to glorify Himself and to be good for me and my family.  He's just like that.  He has taught us that other things are more important than professions and success.  Like loving God and others and family and putting them first and serving them and Him.  It has taken us a life time to see that being blessed with success in sports, and all that goes with it, cannot bring you true life and happiness.  Only Christ can.  It has been an amazing ride, our life.  It was an amazing day.  But God is greater than anything this world has to offer.