Some would say that the game of football mimics life. Certainly, like the game of football, everyday life has its opponents and challengers, setbacks, scores, injuries, competition, wins and losses.
What happened in the world of football the other day with the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher, linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs was not just a tragedy in professional football, but it is a real tragedy in everyday life. Our prayers are with the two families left with loss and for the young child who lost both parents.
While I know such events are charged with many contributing factors, the questions mount around such a devastating loss of life. What was going on in one man’s personal life that he found no place to decompress? What amount of private pain would be so intense that it would find its way out in such a horrific fashion? Are events like this a sign of a deeper problem? A problem, not just within professional sport, but also within our way of life? Is there anything anyone could have done to help?
We have been stunned repeatedly by explosive acts of violence coming from the unsuspected. From being bullied to deep hidden offense, from school yards to corporate offices tragedies like this have occurred.
Obviously life is not without pain. When in everyday life we encounter colleagues, coworkers, neighbors or family do we remain silent and “tough it out” in private pain, or is there any safe place or are there any safe people out there where one can find release?
Quarterback Brady Quinn, of the Kansas City Chiefs, in an interview said it like this. “When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”
Some time ago I was greeted by a fatherly friend with a grin, “How are you doing, you liar?” Shocked by the well meaning question it awakened me to the tendency that most of us, myself included default to that of “appearing to have it all together”.
Maybe the real tragedy in the Game of Life is that we have lost connection with our selves and one another. We choose to be strong and successful rather than risk appearing weak, overwhelmed or having questions but no answers. We are convinced that everyone is doing just fine, so why shouldn’t I?
Let’s be candid and straight with ourselves and about ourselves. No one should have to suffer in silence or alone. Suffering is a part of the human condition. But, hope is the antidote.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” Psalm 42:5
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts.” Romans 5:5
Here are five suggestions to help you or someone you know to live in hope:
- Find something in your life to laugh about! It could be good news or bad news like you’re late for work, the car has a flat, a brilliant sun rise, something you said, or your boss gave you an unexpected raise.
- Find someone to laugh with! It could be anyone.
- Choose to be candid and open about disappointments by putting it into words. Use your words, you liar! (see above)
- Develop friendships with people who accept both the beautiful and the ugly in your life (all of us have both), and who believe the best is yet to come.
- Hold to an attitude of abundant anticipation. You are bigger than what happened, and you have a choice in what will happen. Keep looking up and looking forward.
Your life is no game! Your life is precious!