"We need a three pointer real bad"

Though it might seem like it at first, this post is not about basketball. It just starts that way because it is such a beautiful illustration.

Growing up I had a friend whom we shall call John as in John Doe. John loved to play basketball. The only problem was...he wasn't very good at it.

He was short and slow which he made up for by not understanding the game overly well from a "how to minimize your limitations standpoint".

Fortunately for him, the local High School team wasn't very good either so he made the team as second string bench warmer.

For those who don't follow sports, that means he would get into a game when it was over but there was time left on the clock...like a minute left and the team down by 20 points.

His Dad did not get that. We showed up for every game (we did have another friend who was on the team and was a very talented player...started, in fact) and often I would sit next to John Sr.

The game would start and within a minute, john Sr. would say, "They should put John in. We need a three pointer real bad".

I wish you could hear it in that special "no longer part of the south but still have the Oklahoma drawl tinging my accent" sound he had.

You would look at the scoreboard and it might be 2-0 or 8-4 or some similar score where the game, so early into it, would not be greatly affected one way or the other by a single three.

The coach, who was not a very good coach, was still good enough to realize that putting John in was not best for the team. He thought being inserted into the line-up was a green light to shoot whenever he touched the ball. John took the old shooters adage, "the only bad shot is the one he didn't take" and turned it into "the only bad shot is one anyone else on the team takes when i am in the game".

His long-range, off-balance, contested bricks led to fast-breaks for the opponents, often turned into 3-point plays when John would try to hustle back to defend. The problem was, he was so slow he could start back on defense before the ball was rebounded and still trail by several steps when the opponents were laying the ball in.

He would often try to correct this with some of the most aggressive, borderline dirty fouls it was ever my privilege to witness on a high school basketball floor.

None of that mattered to John Sr. All he saw was his son whom he loved a great deal sitting on the bench and he sat there thinking that should John get into the game he would naturally rain a barrage of treys on the hapless opposition, win the game single-handed and be swept off the floor on the shoulders of his jubilant teammates.

John Sr. was so blinded by love of his son that he could not see the reality of the situation.

The question is; if that is the situation, that a person is so blinded by their desire to see good for another person that they cannot accurately deal with a situation, is that a good thing?

When someone develops an agenda quite apart from reality, an agenda that can only end in sadness or injury or disappointment or outright damage, how can you kindly show it to them?

To the day he died John Sr. had great pride in his son, a fact everyone knew...except maybe his son. John Sr. never figured out how to show that same enthusiastic pride and desire for good things to his son that he showed for his son to other people.

People sometimes tried to show John Sr. a different way to deal with John j but it never really happened.

The sad moral of this surprisingly depressing story is sometimes people are so blinded by their agenda that they will not...or perhaps even can not see the truth, cannot see the damage they are doing.

I study and pray every day to see to it that my agendas are not my own. I work hard to study issues from multiple angles and see if I cannot see the point of view of other people.

That is not to say I am perfect. Far from it. I am more aware of my flaws, many and deep, than even those closest to me are. And I am ever searching for more flaws and trying to work on them.

The three things I work hardest on this list of things I try to grow in every day of my life are peace, patience and self-control.

And it is a constant struggle in every facet. But if I work on achieving the entire list, certainly, but specifically those three then I will be able to avoid ever having an agenda that is my own and will have Gods' agenda in mind at all times.

And if I can do that, I will not be so blinded by my own desires, even if they are well-meaning, that I ignore truth in pursuit of my own agenda.


pheromone girl said...

I like the basketball analogy. My favorite story as a kid was of the pastor's son - a drug dealing, high school prostitution ring running sleezzeball. He was up on the pulpit with daddy every Sunday, hair slicked back and acting all holier than thou. However, Daddy was the one who had to bail him out every time he got caught, and that was often.

So, when I finally couldn't sit and listen to the guy preach to turn the other cheek and holding his son up as some sort of object of worship, I changed churches.

Blinded by thine own ego is no way to go through life, son.

Good for you for even having a list. That's very self-aware.

Riot Kitty said...

Those three things have been very hard for me at times - patience is still the hardest. Regarding your friend and his late father, I find it heartbreaking when families and friends don't regularly tell each other how much they are valued and loved. Life is short...sometimes shorter than we think it will be...so that's why I think we need to share.