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racquetball & life

January 7, 2011

Mom and I have picked up racquetball. Today was our third time playing and I think we’re getting better! Mom has won every game so far and keeps me on my toes 😉 It’s a fun way to burn some calories and spend time together. It gets me out and gets me moving and that’s great – especially during these winter months, with starting a new job and plowing into my last semester of school.

I am super busy and exercise tends to be the first thing to go. But that’s one change I want to make this year because it always re-energizes me when I make time for it. That’s an easy fix and an enjoyable one.

But – something else I’ve been thinking about today – sometimes life doesn’t fit into a racquetball court. Or a box. Sometimes it’s not an easy fix.

I want to be able to fold life events carefully, slip it into the perfect size box and slide it onto the shelf of life experiences. I want to be able to turn off the light, shut the door and walk away. It’s done. I only have to revisit if I want to take the time to pull the box off the shelf, take the lid off.

Sometimes it’s just that easy.

But there are times when it’s just that hard.

When boxes don’t work. When what I attempt to put inside won’t stay neatly folded. Or even when no box is big enough to contain it. When the top won’t stay on but keeps coming off. And I press it down and sit on it and try everything I can to make it stay, but it just won’t. When I try lifting it onto the shelf anyway, but it’s too heavy and the top is sliding off and what’s inside keeps falling out.

And I can’t turn off the light, shut the door and walk away. Because it’s still there. And it will be there until I figure out how to deal with it, what to do with it.  Sometimes the lessons and the truths aren’t a simple extraction and application. Sometimes life is just a little more complicated than that.

And I suppose that’s what makes life life. And why racquetball helps, too. So I can hit something…over and over and over again…and let a little frustration out 😉

No, life can’t always be boxed up and stored neatly on a shelf. But that’s okay. Life is messy. It’s not always cut and dry. Easy to understand or accept. Logical. It is the sum total of a billion different things – a few I can control and most I can’t.

And this is where Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 has a chance to become super practical.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
 And lean not on your own understanding; 
 In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
 And He shall direct your paths.”

I’ve known it by heart since I was eight years old. It’s the truth. But it can also seem very trite when it’s thrown at you in the midst of life’s most difficult moments.  I know it’s the right answer – the response I’m supposed to have. But how?

The question of the day. And then I look at it a little more closely. Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 is not the secret recipe to blue skies and sunny days. The author isn’t asking us to laugh off the unexplainable, difficult events of life. On the contrary, the author was out right acknowledging that there will be many times in life when we, as humans, just won’t understand.

And that it’s ok to want to understand (because maybe sometimes we need to). I’ve felt guilty for wanting to understand for a long time now. For wanting to be able to fit life events into their specific boxes. To make some sense of it all. I don’t have to feel guilty about that. God doesn’t ask us to stop reasoning or to stop asking questions – especially not in the difficult times.

It’s just that I can’t let my desire to understand (or even what understanding I do gain) to be my confidence. I can’t build  my whole life on that. I can’t lean on it. I don’t discount it or feel guilty for it, but I don’t depend on it or make it more important than anything else.

I balance it with trust and acknowledging Him (freely admitting my utter dependence on Him) in all of my ways. Then I don’t worry so much about what I do or don’t understand. Understanding is not essential to my survival. It is not the key to my life.

This is me. Analyzing. Digging deeper than I probably should. Thinking about things that most normal people probably don’t. But I like to understand. I like to make things make sense 😉 I’m just learning that’s not the most important thing in life.

Maybe if I analyzed the racquetball rules and my swing just as much, Mom wouldn’t beat  me every time 😉

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