The instructional value of sorrow

November 27, 2013 chris
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I recently attended the Super Bowl football game played by the Etowah Blue Devils. Rocky plays for them and Rocky is one of the kids I mentor.

I was there along with Rocky’s parents and grandparents to support him and his team.

It was a hard-fought game, and in the end, Eto-wah won by a score of 6-0.

It was Rocky’s first year and he was fortune to play on a team that won it all during his first year. Some players play a sport their entire lives and never experience that.

We sat in the stands on pins and needles as the clock ticked down and the opposing team in the spirit of true champions pressed forward until the final whistle was blown.

The stands and Rocky’s team erupted into cheers. I made my way down from the stands as the announcer awarded the champs their trophies.

Coaches slapped each other on the back as they congratulated one another.

An impromptu parade and fireworks would have been right at home as the team celebrated at midfield. I continued to watch from afar as I made my way out of the stadium.

It had been a cold night, and part of me wanted the car warm by the time we hit the road.

As I exited the stadium and headed for the truck, I was suddenly walking along side a player from the losing team.

I heard his cleats first and as I turned to face him I saw the tears and heard his sobbing.

I quickly stole another glance at Rocky’s team celebrating on the field. I wanted to absorb it and compare and contrast it before the moment got away.

It had been a long time since I experienced that feeling as a player or a coach.

I had nearly forgotten such moments exist. But here it was afresh walking dejectedly beside me.

We walked like that until we reached our cars. He opened the back door of his father’s truck and threw in his gear, then he climbed inside and he was gone.

    As his father drove away, I thought about the lessons gained from sorrow.

The Bible states, “Better to be in a house of sorrow than a house of joy.”

One poet wrote, “I walked a mile with laughter, she chatted all the way, but I was none the wiser for all she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow she uttered not a thing, but oh the lessons I learned when sorrow walked with me.” 

    People rarely learn deep and meaningful lessons du-ring glad times.

One doesn’t reflect du-ring those moments but ra-ther live in them.

Hard times, on the other hand, challenge your faith, character and perseverance.

It begs you to evaluate things. Did I work hard enough?

What could I have done better?

Will I become bitter or better?

These aren’t questions in a house of joy. I was nearly at the truck and I wondered just what that young man who I happened to share a sad walk with, would do with his sorrow.

Would it serve as another layer in the foundation of his life to help him to become all that he could be?

Or would it become an anchor that prevents him from fulfilling his potential? 

I am reminded of a poem, “The world don’t care if you quit, the world don’t care if you fail. A busy world won’t even notice it, no matter how loud you wail.”

Happy Thanksgiving.