Monday, January 10, 2011
Team Canada World Juniors - Paul H. Boge
If you, like nearly 7 million others, watched Team Canada’s third period debacle in “Buffalo, Ontario” against the Russians you saw one of the most inexplicable and disappointing moments in Canadian World Junior history.
I feel bad for the fans who were there to cheer our boys on. I feel bad for the millions of us that watched from living rooms across the world. But mostly, I feel bad for the Canadian players who will be dogged with this for the rest of their lives.
Or will they?
As disappointing as the game was, it’s a lesson in leaving the past behind. Not all of Team Canada will go on to play in the NHL. Hard to believe when you think you skated out there in front of a sold out crowd with the chance to put the puck in the night and bring them and the nation to their feet. But that’s the way it is. For some of them, this is as far as they will get. Maybe the minors. Maybe not. Some will make in the NHL and hopefully leave the stunning 5 third period goal performance by the Russians behind.
But either way, whether a player goes on to NHL fame and glory, minor hockey, or something else, they will need to be able to not let their past define them.
“If only I would have done this…” “If only I would have made this choice instead of that choice…” “Man, how my life would be different if only I would have seen that opportunity for what it was.” “I could have had it so much better if I would have just done this one thing differently.”
One of the tough things in life is coming to the realization that you can’t go back. Time only moves forward. Like it or not. And the ones that succeed in life are the ones who after putting their hand to the plough don’t turn back.
There are two kinds of contented people in the world. Notice I didn’t say happy. Happy is overrated. It’s a moving target and fleeting at best. But as far as contented people there are two kinds: those who think they are and those who actually are.
There are those who make it to the proverbial NHL of their lives – they get the job they wanted, get the spouse they wanted, get the kids they wanted, get the house and friends and, dare I add, the closeness in relationship with God they wanted etc. etc. etc. And good for them. Sincerely. But herein lies the danger - they will only think they are content unless they see their lives for what they are, an absolute gift from him, and keep their lives focused on him. Playing in the NHL is a dream for very few.
Then there are those who blew a chance, or many chances, or, worse, never realized the chance at the time but only in retrospect. They felt the sting of remorse in knowing that “if only…” or “I should have…”. They worried about troubled kids. They regretted a poor choice. They struggled with singleness. Felt the burden of missed opportunities. But then, and here’s the kicker – they forgave themselves.
They forgave themselves and moved on.
We’re so good at asking God to forgive us. We’re okay at forgiving each other. But do we forgive ourselves? Do we see a life with mistakes and missed opportunities as a gift from God, too?
The Canadian team can’t ask for a rematch. And you and I can’t turn the clock back. We can try, though, and too many of us get stuck trying the impossible. We can even blame God by asking our omnipotent, omniscient creator why he couldn’t have pushed a little harder to get everything on the right track. Isn’t that what he’s there for? To do for us what we can’t do for ourselves?
The Bible says all things work together for good. But it takes faith to actually believe that our failures can work for good. Chuck Colson went to prison for Watergate and the result was Prison Fellowship. That’s an easy one. There are others that are much, much tougher. Like perhaps in your life, for example. I can’t answer the reason for the pain in your life. It may not even become obvious while we are down here.
But in order to move forward we have to ask for faith to believe that God forgives and uses our lives for his glory.
Especially when we’ve blown a big lead and let down people.
We could have had gold. We got silver (ouch. That really hurts saying that).
But in the end, life is not in the what. It’s in the who.
Whom are you trusting to make something of your life?
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