Sunday, October 27, 2013

Finding my place

Muenster High School has an alumni basketball game coming up, and when I heard about it a month or so ago, I could not resist signing up. I don't know whether I really qualify -- I only suited up in junior high and as a freshman, and I probably only made it into one or two high school games. But I think I'm probably in a uniform with the team in the 1974 yearbook. So I offered my $20 registration fee, and they took it, so I guess I'm in!

When I heard about the event from a Facebook posting, I commented that I would sign up if they promised I wouldn't have to play. "My place was on the bench -- and before my freshman year was over, I realized even that was too close to the action for comfort!"

They assured me they would have a place reserved for me on the bench. But I've had second thoughts. I'd forgotten that even the ball handling during practice and warmups was traumatic for me. So, now I hope to just enjoy the fish dinner, get my T-shirt and take a seat in the stands, where I ended up being for games throughout high school, as I watched my sisters and brother and classmates play. (I wouldn't mind being in an alumni team picture, but if that requires ball handling or me to actually sit on the bench, they can probably count me out!)

While some have picked up a basketball to prepare for the game, my workout has been mental. Here's some of what I've come up with:

I call myself a bench warmer on the team. But upon more thought, I realize I'm not really even a good bench warmer. Shouldn't a bench warmer be like the scout team, maybe not good enough to play in the games, but a very worthy practice opponent. I am not and never was that. I am not comfortable handling the ball and have no clue what to do as a defender. I am more of an obstacle than a resource. Some people have no business in practice, in a uniform or on the team. And it wasn't a good use of my time. I wisely got off the bench and moved to the stands.

Although I didn't realize it until now, that may have been one of the defining moments in my life. I don't remember my thought process at the time, but ultimately, I realized that just because everyone else in my family was athletic and played basketball didn't mean I had to. I do recall it was hard to give it up. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't harder than it was to go to those games and live in fear that the coach would send me into the game and the ball would come my way!

Unfortunately, the way my mind and reflections go, I realize I'm still searching to find the team where I fit in, where I feel like I can contribute, carry my weight and maybe even make a difference. A couple of opportunities that came close were the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club (journalists doing a musical roast of politics) and then a praise team at our church. But after a few years of camaraderie with the journalist group, I fell out of favor, and it has never worked to get involved again. Meanwhile, after a short span, the contemporary worship service and praise team folded, and attempts to keep it going also fizzled.

Also unfortunately, I blame myself: Maybe the reason I can't find a place is because I am selfish and lazy and judgmental and perfectionist and undisciplined. Is there anything I am truly good at? Not in my eyes. From my perspective: Mediocre is me.

And yet: Jesus loves me, this I know. The Bible tells me so. God knows where and how I am. He created me. He goes before me and with me. I see again and again how He uses me, especially in supporting roles.

So, once more, I will suit up and show up, eager to see what God has planned for such a time as this.

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