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  • Joni Topper

Lessons From the Football Field – Part 2

The next week my husband and I were able to go to the game. It was very hot. The bleachers were silver aluminum. Sitting in them could render you both blind from the glare and well done from the heat. Worrying about the little tykes on the football field, I observed there was a table on each sideline holding water bottles. This was a relief and calmed my grandmotherly instinct to protect.


During the first quarter we looked up and the mother behind us was in shock to see that her little player had decided to leave the game altogether and come up in to the stands to talk to mom. Mom was his focus. I don’t think the coaches realized they had an escapee. Laughing inside myself I thought of all the times we tend to act like our jobs, in this case football, are so important that we don’t have time to connect with our loved ones. The game goes on anyway. The little boy was welcomed back into the game when he returned as though he had never been gone. Perhaps this is a picture of what Jesus meant when he instructed us to come to him as little children. They feel incomplete when separated from their parents.


At one time we caught Rowdy watching the cheerleaders. His sister was a cheerleader and no doubt he had witnessed a lot of pre-game practice. You could see his mouth move giving voice to each cheer. His team members were all further down the sidelines and he just took a little break to watch the girls cheer.


There was a point during the game when some parents sitting near us sought comfort from the heat by going to the concession stand which provided a little shade. They returned quickly saying there were rambunctious kids there with no supervision who were throwing things and making a scene. They questioned “Where were the parents?” and said, “We just could not take it”. I thought it must have been bad to chase these folks back into the hot sun. People are happy to see us coming when we are trustworthy. Our behavior holds the power to attract or repel.


At the end of the game Rowdy came to the sidelines with the biggest smile you ever saw as he greeted his school teacher who had come to see the game. His eyes twinkled. There was not another person in the stands as far as he was concerned. Only his teacher. The moment was precious to witness. It reminded me how happy I am when the presence I value most is that of my heavenly teacher. Then I walk contented in His presence.


Later in the day I asked Rowdy once again what his favorite part of the game had been. He said, “Sitting under the table in the shade”. We had noticed that when he was not on the field he sat there. No one was with him, he just sat by himself carefree.


I am always surprised by the ways God shows himself to me in simple daily living. Why it is a surprise I cannot say. He promised to go with me always. He says if I seek, I will find Him. He’s not hiding from me after all. This lifelong journey with the creator of heaven and earth is so much fun when I open my eyes to what He wants to show me in the small as well as the big moments.


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