the Crucible

Stab in the Front

“friends stab each other in the front”

i wanted to share a learning moment i had on weds night because i think it is an awesome reflection to community as god intened. this is a depressing truth, but it captures the ongoing stuggles of living. we were at soccer practice and we were having a scrimmage. as always, we we were doing our best to yell out and coach the kids in a positve way. our pracitce feild sounds pretty loud for most of the practice. usually we have to yell because its outside, theres a breeze and the field is near a road with a lot of traffic noise. once you get around the fact that were yelling at 10year old girls if you listen a majority of the time were yelling things like come on or get it forward or stay in your zone. . .

i coach the defense specifically the fullbacks, we have been doing much better in games and in the last weeks there is an incomparible improvement from just a few weeks ago. my oldest daughter plays center fullback and is the only one of the fullbacks who hasn’t played soccer before. she now loves it and is excited to improve. she is one of the fastest girls on the team and is definelyt the tallest so she is perfect for the job, becuase she has never played, it has been challenging for her to understand angles, when to commit, when to cushion and when to determine if someone is in the kill zone . .ect. . and she is slowly gaining confidence in her ability. there is added diffiulty because she doesn’t get a lot of help yet, even though the other defenders have played soccer before, they really don’t understand angles either . they typically don’t pull their oppents off sides and also get burnt, leaving her often times in a 3 on 1 or at least 2. anyways. on weds night, i really really wanted them to stay in their zones and it just wasn’t happening.

its funny with all the other girls i have a lot of grace but for some reason with my own daughter who i obvioulsy love more, i don’t know why but i feel the freedom to yell more. she kept getting burnt and wasn’t playing well and i was keeping on her, and letting her know. i have been around sports all my life and competed from rec leagues to the proffesional level of international competition. i have been coached by and witnessed literally hundreds of coaches and even coached others at an international level i am only writting this to express that i really do understand athleticism. coaches that yelled never bothered me. coaches that were negative always did. the best coaches are those who can point out the right. focusing on the negative is easy, explaining how to get it right is just plain what a coach does. i am concious about negative coaches in perhaps a hyper vigalente sense. they have no place and are worhtless.

well, weds night i crossed over the line and definitly did it before i realized it. i thought i was helping but was just doing the opposite and it was horriblle. i constatnly need reminded of my presence, i just never think of myself as intimidaing and i definitly have no desire to come off that way. i know from the pains of life that i can and have initmitdated my own family before and the thought of ever doing so again is practically unbearable. its why i always jokingly use dallass willards name in vain (becuase had it not been for a great wife, friends and that book, i don’t think i would have realized the potential harm or damage i could have continued to invoke.) perhaps the saddest part is that i know better, for years i sat under the tootelage of a great leader ed piorek whose life passion is the father heart of god. the premise to his ministiry is that poor behaviors frrom earthely fathers, can impeded an individuals perspective on his heavenly father. so after reading much nouwen and living amougnst ed i know really do know all the damage that fathers can invoke. the baffling part to me is that i had the best earthly father i can imagine. i couple that fact with the concept in the OT of sins of the father repeating, and things don’t make sense. frightenly enough its like i am starting my own personal out of control lineage of yuchhh.

so here i am out on a soccer feild telling my own daughter that she is getting burnt, and she just cowards away, i am still haunted by her beautiful eyes welling up and the image of her as she turned away and ran back to her postition after our scrimmage team scored a goal. i saw here posture change and her beautiful little body fighting back the flood of emotion that she was feeling. it was all she could do to keep from breaking down. it was then that i knew i had blown it. what do you do? how do you recover from that one? why the hell did it even matter? my behavior is so contrary to how i feel. well it is no secret and i have been working on it intentially and gotten much mo betta over the years, but i had definitly screwed up. and then to make it worse my daughter told me after practice choking back tears of pain, that she had hurt her ankle and that was why she was defending poorly. she said she didn’t want to be like the other girls who fake injury or manipulate (her words) so they can get out of practice. infact she was the only one who voted to do laps at the end of practice. so by the end of that little conversation i was feeling like there are no words to describe.

but here is the part of community that was beautiful. practice was over, and we waited until all the parents had left as we always do, typically the girls play together, and i noticed that mark seemed a bit preoccupied but didn’t know why. (actually he was just protecting me) after the kids were in the car and all the stuff was loaded up mark came over gave me a hug and very privatley whispered the following words which almost broke me. “as a friend and as a brother, i think you stepped over the line with your daughter today” about all i could say was “yah i know” and that was it. that was all that needed said. that was all it took, because we practically live together i knew those 18 words spoke more and adressed more than words can capture. i knew from the look in his eyes he was doing his job as a memeber of my community of faith and holding me accountable. that was it. simple and quick. and then he got in the car and left. had mark not confirmed my suspicions (it took a real rocket scientist) of my own behavior, i may not have handled the aftermath the same. unfortunatly the damage was done and once again it is not as easy as a simple apology. i know when he got in the car his daughter probablly questioned him about it, and i also know that he represented me in a way that won’t further the damage i did. ulitmatley that is what is best for everybody.

we have an openness that can only come from relationship and there is nothing we would hold back especially in love. we have come to expect each others feedback and welcome it as naturally as our own thoughts. so philosophically not saying something is the sin. beth reminded me of a quote by oscar wilde who had a fascinating life of brilliance “friends stab each other in the front” well thats all mark was doing. stabbing me in the front. you know what i welcome it anytime, i want it, i need it, its like having eyes guarding your back. if we don’t confront sin or poor behaviour in our communities and hold each other accountable how will we ever move towards our own healing? even more how will we incept change and model the kingdom to those who are onlooking. if we are looking for life long inpact, it ain’t gonna happen without the relationship of brothers and sisters who adress our faults in love and want to see us move on. transparency is just part of it, being surrounded by those who challenge is the other. but the best part is that there is an openess amoung freinds that will represent, protect and gaurd out of mutual interests and allelon. if know if we can do this, if we can with dignity and honesty restore and build each othe up, we will see life lasting change. so go and challenge each other and live amoung freinds

++lord heal the wounds i create,
please restore my daughter and anyway ive screwed her up,
help me to model you to my own family and those who i have infected
i want to be more, say more and do more for your kingdom. thankyou ++

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