By Vicki Scott
I have always heard it said that you never know who is watching you. What a burden to carry when someone is trying to be a Christian in every aspect of life. That idea spoke loudly to me during the season in my life when our children were growing up. It relates in so many other ways as well.
The other day, I watched a young teenager dodge our fierce dogs to retrieve his soccer ball for the millionth time. We have a practice field behind our house, and I usually watch children from my window as they practice soccer. This certain teenager comes by himself or sometimes with friends for extra practice time. One of the soccer goals faces our fence, and when the ball is kicked too high, the dogs think they have a new toy.
At times, I have watched one soccer team member pet the dogs and keep them occupied while another one runs in and retrieves the lost ball. Some soccer players just run in and get the ball without thought of what our dogs might do. This guy had done the latter so many times that the dogs would just watch him and eventually go to our front yard and take a nap.
There have been many times I have driven into our fenced-in yard to find multiple soccer balls. When that happens, I imagine my dogs were too protective that day. I get out and throw the balls back onto the soccer field. I hope the children were not too upset with the dogs. It was just a day they felt like doing their job.
When I was watching the other day, it was hot, and the poor guy, who was persistent in his soccer practice, was dripping sweat as he found his place in front of the goal, bracing for another shot. I had watched him off and on all morning, mainly because the dogs were barking, and I felt the need to check between chores.
Our dogs bark at everything. Most of the time it is a cat that is antagonizing them. There is a barn on the other side of the soccer field that looks like a party house for cats. I have witnessed many cats make their way over there at different hours, day and night. On a different occasion, our dogs were barking at someone pulling a red wagon. Children on bicycles have also been known to get barking attention.
The poor fellow in the soccer field kicked the ball and again, it flew over the goal and into our yard. I saw the ball, then looked at him. He just hung his head as if he were saying, “Oh, no, not again!” I felt so bad for him but totally related. He ran back and retrieved the ball. He practiced a long time before that and afterwards. His coach should be proud of him and his determination.
All I could think about was how he did not give up. There have been so many times, recently even, that I would just hang my head and say to myself, “Oh no, not again!”
What a great example of perseverance. He did not do this for an audience or money. He did not realize anyone was watching him. He did not know the things this person watching was going through and that he set a new perspective on life for her. I needed to see that boy fail at meeting his goal sometimes to show me not to quit because things are not working.
As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed; I have just found 1,000 things that did not work.” Every one of the soccer balls that sailed over the fence represented mistakes or processes that needed to be changed because they did not work. The dogs represented the hinderances to our goals. Sometimes they are close by ready to bite or make it hard for you to accomplish the task at hand. Sometimes they are taking a nap, and you can proceed forward but with caution.
I wonder if sometimes we need to fail or make mistakes where whoever is watching us can learn from our reaction. I still do not like to fail. When I do, I pray I react like Thomas Edison and this guy and not give up.
Thank you, young man for confirming how I need to live my life! I praise God for using you, and I am praying for you and your soccer goals.