So You’re a B Team Christian

IMG_0158My son had it in his mind last fall that all he wanted to do in the wide world ever was play some football.
Being raised by the South teaches a boy a few nonnegotiables mostly by way of not-so subconcious: say yes ma’am, eat your cornbread in your beans, and play the football.
So my boy, along with most every male in middle school, took a week to run the drills and show off skills under the watchful eye of coaches in order to prove they have what it takes to make the plays as they counted and especially under pressure.
On the afternoon of the last run-through practice, Gavin clanged into my car accompanied by the odor of 1000 mules.
Already pulling out of the parking lot, I ask, ’How’d it go, Buddy?’
‘It was fine.’
‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah. I made B Team.’
‘Oh, good. That’s awesome!
He was clearly disappointed but sometimes in these situations I don’t know what to do so I say some words to buy the time.
‘How do you know you made B Team?’
And he tells me about the A and the B rosters and the names listed and my soul winces a little to hear him tell some of the things he is learning that I already know about this life.
It isn’t all bad or all good:
it’s just the nature of the thing.
We talked a bit….my boy was disappointed in himself, discouraged at what he perceived as a lack in his abilities…about where he thought he should be at this point.
All I knew to do was to speak truth to my child, to this situation, about his identity, our Father, the things we can learn…all without making it a big deal so he might never know there would be a lesson buried underneath B Team, right?
Teenagers don’t love lessons in the moment, do they?
We put all this, if not behind us, at least to the side, and passed the football in the front yard before homework this time.

*******

A couple of days ago, I found myself calling to mind the conversation my son and I had in the car so squarely I swear I could smell those mules with me. I am disappointed with myself, discouraged at what I perceive as a lack in my abilities….about where I thought I should be at this point.
Thought-patterns and behaviors I had foolishly at some point relegated as beneath me don’t sit so far below the surface anymore:
they cover my skin, get in my eyes…
I taste them in my mouth as unchecked words.
I should be past this, I thought I learned this one…benched for messing up the same way again.
In one moment, I think to myself not on purpose and maybe without the words, ‘You’re a B Team Christian.’
And not exactly in the next moment, but some after that…I fight my way back to the truth of things:
Yes.
You are.
And the very humanity that lands and keeps me on what I had come to think of as the second-rate bench is the same reason Jesus loves me and is for me.
I only try and show up remembering to believe that He began a good thing…and He said He will be the one to finish it. (Philippians 1:6)
Another thing I am learning?
Any time we think we are on the A Team?
…is just another reminder we belong on B.
Take heart, fellow humans. The next second after this life passes from us is the first minute we finally get to be A Team.
Until then?
Just keep showing up.
The thing about Gavin I never got around to telling?
For the rest of the season, there was not a day the boy was not pestering his mama or his daddy to get out in the yard and run plays with him. He would patiently explain and ignore when I got the play wrong and would wind up saying with his signature side-smile, ‘Just throw it anywhere you think I won’t catch it.’
He never gave up and he continued to work hard. He got tackled in games and he intercepted balls.
He just kept going.
One of the coaches finally took him aside one afternoon and said, ‘You keep playin’ like that boy, you’re gonna be on A Team next year.’ He winked at him and slapped him on the back and sent my boy all the way to the moon with stars in his eyes on his way to relay to me the conversation.
Now…
It doesn’t matter that Gavin broke his arm in the last catch of the last game of the season or that we have since moved Gavin to a new school in a different state where the coach doesn’t know he exists.
Yet.
That’s just life for you, isn’t it?
All we can do is try our best each day, sit out for injuries and give ourselves time to heal and learn…and keep playin.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Holly @ While I'm Waiting... | 14th Jan 16

    I find when I read your posts that I can’t read them fast enough! I miss you, friend. I miss you so much it hurts! Let’s PLEASE get together and compare B team notes, K?

    • Holly @ While I'm Waiting... | 14th Jan 16

      And by “read them fast enough” I mean that I’m hanging on what you say and want to hear the rest of the story – not that I’m trying to rush through it – but you knew that! 😉

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