“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
It must have a thing for me.
Before we talk about the rain, though, let’s go back just a little bit. The middle of August, and sign up for this year’s soccer program through the local rec department. We had two kids signing up to play. A great way for them to stay active in the fall, in a sport they both enjoy very much. And then we received a call. Bekah’s team (my daughter) did not have enough kids signed up to field a team. Because of football, several boys had signed up to play on only the spring portion of this team ( a fall/spring season). This was my first year coaching her. It looked like our season was over before it even began. And then…a couple more late registrations trickled in. And we had about enough for a team – players from neighboring towns, not just local kids. Kids who wanted to play, however for whatever reason, they were unable to play in their local soccer clubs (no team, full team, etc).
So, we’ve become a coed team playing in an almost all-boy league. Playing against kids who have played soccer for many years together, while we’re a hodge podge of players from all over the area – some kids who have never played together before, and some who haven’t played all that much soccer.
So, our games are usually one-sided…and we’re on the short end of the stick. It’s not for lack of effort. So our season has been. And still, everyone has remained completely upbeat – both at practices and during the games.
September brought beautiful weather for all of our soccer practices…until last week’s practice. All day had been gusty winds, cool temperatures, and with short bursts of rain showers mixed in. Still, as we neared practice time, I really still wanted to have a practice.
And then notice that a football game we were supposed to go to later that night was cancelled due to the weather…followed shortly by a call indicating that my son’s soccer practice was canceled – again, because of the weather.
Soccer practice, for us, would go on. For those kids who could make it.
So we showed up, eight kids in total (out of 12 if everyone is there). And the rain was coming down sideways. No other teams at the park to practice, just us. Normally we work on some skill enhancements for a part of the practice. The favorite part of the practice for everyone, though, is the scrimmage we do at the end. Here we were, though, eight kids who had shown up despite terrible weather – to play soccer. So, I threw out all expectations for that practice. It was raining, it was cold, it was windy. None of it very much fun – especially in the face of the "less fun" part of practice. So we decided we’d just much fun as we could. We broke into two teams to scrimmage each other – really, hardly enough to field two teams. To just play the game they love.
And we ran, and we laughed. And the light rain that started practice quickly turned to heavy downpours, coming down sideways with the strong winds. No expectations. And soaked bodies. Soaked with not only rain, with the goodness of "showing up" and being out there despite the terrible weather conditions. Soaked with the bonding of a team, built around the quality of "showing up". Of being there, in the good and the bad.
Will any of this help us win any games? In all honesty, probably not. What it does, though, is give our team one more bond between them. Something they have, a moment together. A group of kids, united in one more way.
Our Daily Lives
How about you? Are you putting yourself out there? Think about those things that really matter. Those things that are maybe in your heart, yet it’s taking you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s just going for "it", whatever "it" is.
Getting out there.
And when you do this, and with no expectations, being perfectly okay with whatever the outcome – the reward is great. And it is great, because whatever you come out on the other side with, no matter how much or how little, it’s more than you went in with. Maybe you gain some new knowledge, or make a new contact, or meet an old friend, or spur on new ideas, or whatever other myriad of things could happen.
Life is lived when we’re challenging ourselves to be the best "us" we can be. And sometimes that’s staying at home. And other times, that’s putting ourselves out there….without expectation.
A great life is there for you! For each of you! Your rainbow is is out there – filled with the many colors that shine "you"! And that’s a journey that is so worth traveling…
Note: A special thank you to Stacey Shipman, whose comment (paraphrased above) from an earlier post really spurred this idea.