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soccer.milan
Tonight I sat in the chilly autumn air warding off the gusty winds with my California winter coat and ugg knock-offs.
These are the nights that run late. When soccer takes precedence over regular evening schedules and bedtimes are extended for after-practice snacks and hot showers. We’ve done this routine since August. The last practice was tonight and then after our Championship game on Saturday—the season will be over.

And you know what? I’m going to miss soccer.

No, not the scrambling for dinner before practice, washing uniforms, or tracking down lost shin guards. I’m going to miss that some kind of holy that hits me every time I watch these boys practice.

And just so you know, it was never my intention to stay for the two-hour practices twice a week. After all, First Boy was old enough to do the drop-off thing (and all the other parents were doing it). I imagined using my time crossing items off my To Do List. The plan was to do something with my extra time. But instead, I stayed and didn’t get anything done off my list. (Why I chose to stay is another blog post.)

And I didn’t do anything during practices either. I didn’t read a book, scroll through Facebook or chat with a girlfriend. In other words, I didn’t check-out and pass the time idly. I caught on pretty quick that something holy happens on that field and I wanted to be fully present. So I stayed—and I engaged by being not doing.

And I don’t get it, but somehow I always left with my heart lighter and fuller than when I first stepped onto the field.

Maybe it was the night air. Maybe it was not being “on”. Maybe it was the intentionality to simply be and not do. Maybe…

But maybe there was something more—there must have been. I know all to well the chaos of my heart and mind and the intensity it grows come sundown. Something holy happened as a team of boys kicked a ball up and down a field for two hours. And whatever it was—it got to me. And it got inside my soul and freed me from whatever mysterious weight that was oppressing me that day.

And it didn’t happen just once. It happened again and again, week after week. I’d sit and watch these 5th-8th grade boys run around a field trying to force a ball into a netand I’d leave with my heart right and light.

And now we’re home and the boys are off to shower the cold and dirt away. And I sit at this screen, still in my winter coat and cozy boots, tapping at this keyboard trying to make sense of how a thing called soccer could touch my soul.

It even looks silly when I read what I wrote.

But I know when my heart swells with hope, joy, and inspiration something holy is in my midst. I know what I felt—and I know what I saw.

I saw boys of different ages, schools and backgrounds come together as a team. I saw a coach lead from his heart. I saw skills improve and unity happen. I saw coaches and kids grow together, bond together—and play together.

And it was in the playing my heart soared.

And maybe those holy transcendent moments came from these ones—these sweaty, silly, middle school boys. Maybe it was these ones—created in the image of the Most High God—beheld His glory as they did what He created them to do.

Play.

Maybe what got to me was God’s glory flooding a field and barreling through my heart. Maybe His glory released in a team of boy’s doing what they were born to do caught up with my weary heart and made all things right.

Because really…how else can you explain how a thing called soccer could touch my soul.

Glory.

{Play on, Team Milan. Play on.}

Soccer.Milan

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