Tackles or touchdowns?

23 06 2010

I don’t always have something of my own to share that’s funny, exciting, moving or positive and on those days, I do one of two things: I either don’t post or I post the words of someone who does have something positive to say.  Today, I’m doing the latter and this post has actually been a few days in the making.

This past Saturday, I attended funeral services for the father of my big brother Tony, one of my teammates on the StoneSteppers.  As the funeral was the day before Father’s Day, Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr.’s message focused around the topic of fatherhood.  I happen to have a lot of mixed feelings on the subject of fatherhood, but nonetheless, Rev. Bland’s words were undeniably powerful and I wanted to share a particular story that stayed with me throughout the weekend and into this week.

Rev. Bland recounted a story about how his father was a supportive fan of all three of his sons’ athletic activities.  On one particular day, a young Rev. Bland was in the bleachers with his father, watching one of his other brothers play football.  His brother was getting rocked.  He’d get the ball, gain a yard or two and then, WHAM!  He’d get tackled by the defense.  Over and over again, his brother would get the ball and end up on the ground, the victim of a violent tackle.  And over and over again, his father would stand up clapping and saying, “That’s my boy!  That’s my boy out there!”

Young Reverend Bland couldn’t believe it!  Why was his dad claiming his loser brother?  All he was doing was getting knocked down – over and over again at that!  All he could see was his brother getting the crap kicked out of him and in his eyes, that wasn’t anything to cheer about.  But his dad saw something different.  Every time his son got the ball, he was getting just a little bit closer to the end zone.  His dad saw that his son was getting knocked down, but he also saw that although he was struggling, he continued to move toward the goal. 

Reverend Bland explained that in this case, life is just like football and each of us is just like his brother.  Life is hard.  We’re going to get knocked down sometimes and it will be hard to get back up and keep running toward the end zone.  Sometimes we’ll barely gain yardage.  Sometimes we’ll suffer a loss.  Sometimes we’ll question why we’re even in the game in the first place.

I was showering for work on Monday when I looked down at my tanned feet that I had painted a stunning shade of OPI “La Paz-itively Hot” the night before.  This might mean I’m super lame, but seeing my pretty little toes in a bright, happy color made me smile.  I thought to myself, Life. Is. Good.  And life is good right now.

But like anyone else, I’ve been tackled.  I’ve been knocked down.  I’ve lost yards.  I’ve wondered why I even bothered running for the end zone in the first place.  Do you know why you’re running?  It’s hard not to let challenges and struggles dominate our thoughts.  The fact is, we’ve been promised struggles.  It’s a matter of when, not if.  So the question is: Are you focusing on the tackles or the touchdown?

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One response

24 06 2010
Mom

Danielle, your communication skills continue to amaze me! You are such a gifted, talented writer and what an encourager you are to me and so many others. Rev. Bland’s story about his Father was so encouraging.

I’m thankful for Tony and all your friends and I’m so glad you know you have pretty toes! Life is good!

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