Our son Jonah is an ice hockey goalie.
Most days it’s a fun addition to our lives, watching him play, getting hammered with pucks, and taking on a new challenge every game.
Yesterday, he had a crudey hockey game. He didn’t play horrible, but he got trampled and scored on 10 separate times. In goalie land, that stinks. In mama land, it’s equally as stinky. I walked into the locker room after the game to find my son with his head hung down, still sitting with all his pads on.
He looked tired and defeated.
I tried to encourage him and make him laugh:
You’re pretty new at this hockey thing.
You played hard and stopped a million shots.
You’ll get ’em next time.
All my words of encouragement were good and maybe a tiny bit helpful, but he still sat slumped and dejected.
And then…light shined in.
A puck landed square in Jonah’s lap. I looked up to see a skinny little hockey teammate. He slapped Jonah on the shoulder and said, “Good job, Jonah. We’re lucky to have you, man. I’ve been there. It’s hard.”
He went back to have a seat. Jonah turned the puck over. Written on the puck was the word “WOW” in boy handwriting.
Jonah looked up at me and said, “Where are we eating dinner? I’m hungry.” And I knew he would be just fine. Someone – a teammate, a comrade – lifted him up. He said in a very simple way, “We’re in this together.”
What a difference together makes.
There are dark and difficult times in life. There are also days that are moderately junky. There are embarrassing moments and times we feel let down, or like we let everyone around us down. What makes the difference?
God created the church for a purpose. He’s a God of relationship. When those around us rally and take a moment to recognize that we aren’t an island, we aren’t a ship tossed alone at sea, but we are a body, built and knit together in Him, this is how we reach around us. Who are the ones around you that need to hear –
“I’ve been there. It hurts. But you’re not in this alone.”?
Who is waiting to have the puck land in their lap and to be lifted up by the acceptance and warmth of the team?
Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your pastor, maybe it’s one of the kids at your high school, maybe it’s your grouchy neighbor. Jesus, our Savior, walked the dusty road, and knows what it’s like. He embraces us because He loves even that which is broken, not just to fix it, but because it is broken and He can work with broken. He sees Together in broken.
Either way, you are not alone. We are in this together.
Jonah carried that puck around with him all day today. I think he learned an important life lesson long before I ever did. He can take a risk, he’s ready to be all in, because he’s not in it alone.