Saturday, January 8, 2011

It All Comes Down to This

Last Friday night, Jason and I went to visit RichMisty. We're all incredibly busy people (okay, well, THEY are all incredibly busy people -- me, not so much), so actually setting aside a few hours to hang out as grown-ups was really something special. We ate some incredible food that our friends prepared and played Beyond Balderdash. We laughed, talked, laughed, ate, drank, and laughed.

When we finished up the board game, we decided to flip on the end of the WVU vs. Marshall game. When we turned it on, there were about six minutes left and Marshall was leading 21 to 6. With just over 3 minutes left, after WVU had scored a touchdown, Marshall's drive stalled out and they had to decide whether to go for it on fourth down, or go ahead and punt. One of the commentators said, "It all comes down to this play."

I thought it was pretty early in the game to bust out that phrase. Three minutes is a long time in football, particularly for two teams that have a lot tied up in the outcome of the game.

The game continued, went into overtime, and eventually WVU was victorious. It was a really exciting game (far more than it should have been) and we had a great time cheering on the Mountaineers.

But really, I couldn't stop thinking about the "it all comes down to this" moment. Much to the consternation of those with whom I was watching the game, I kept waiting for the announcers to say it again, but they never did. Which struck me as strange, considering how many opportunities in the following minutes there were for "all comes down to this" moments.

Later I got to thinking about the game and that comment in particular. And I started thinking about plays that it truly "all comes down to" in football. Almost none, really. A field goal when you're down by two. A hail-Mary pass with no time on the clock. That's about it. Definitely NOT something when there are three minutes left in regulation play.

Then I started thinking about the areas in my life where something has felt like an "it all comes down to this" minute. Can I boil down my life to a single moment? To a single decision?

I don't think so.

I don't want to say that moments are all inconsequential. Deciding to get married was huge. Career decisions have made a difference. Having children changed things massively. But has my life all come down to any of those things?

It's so easy to look at decisions we've made, especially bad ones, and think that we can't, or worse, shouldn't recover from them. We choose not to forgive ourselves. We choose not to move on. We choose not to see the good we've done. Instead, we focus on that one action, that one decision, that one moment and we linger there. We tell ourselves that the game is over, that there is no recovery.

My friend, are you reading this?

Then it has not all come down to anything for you.

You have time.

You can still learn. You can still create. You can still mend. You can still laugh. You can still heal. You can still love.

You're still alive. So you can still live.

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