Today on the way to soccer practice Jude and a friend were complaining they didn’t want go. “Sorry girls”, was my answer. I’m the coach and I can’t skip, so you have to show up… my 5 second attempt at a life lesson.
On the way to practice we passed Steak and Shake. “Let’s stop there”, they said. “A hamburger would taste so good”
Then we passed the mall. “Daddy please!”
We made it to practice and worked on our dribbling, passing and shooting. Then we scrimmaged the second graders. On the way home I asked the girls if they had fun. They said no. So I asked them if they liked winning their soccer games; of course they cheered “YES!” So coach Joe proceeded to extoll the merits of hard work and practice to get good at soccer in order to have a winning team… probably in one ear out the other. When I told them half of winning is just showing up, Jude asked what does that mean. (I said half because first graders haven’t learned percentages yet and they certainly wouldn’t get Woody Allen)Woody Allen’s Quote
I explained what that term meant and that in soccer, like life if you just show up, you’ve got a good chance of winning the game or getting a job.
“Or winning the lottery?”
No- sorry Jude. Many things, but not winning the lottery.
It’s Sunday night as I iron my shirts for the week* and the thought occurs to me that my stab at a life lesson for my 7 year old has applications for my life, and maybe yours.
Most of us have mastered the art of just showing up. We show up for our job, for a committee meeting, to church on Sunday or to our kids game, but how much are we really “there”?
I find myself going through the motions all the time. Heck most days I feel good about just getting two children out the door and to school on -time before I can commit any serious thought to my work day… and that’s not even counting the distractions of my cell phone and the looming evening sports schedule.
Many years ago I participated in a 10 day silent Buddhist meditation retreat, no I’m not Buddhist, but my cousin had done a similar Vipassana retreat and I was still finding myself. Vipassana Meditation
It was an amazing experience and taught me two things; one I already suspected.
First, my mother loves me VERY much. We’re all Catholic and when I told her what I was doing she was convinced I was coming back Hare Krishna- if I came back at all! She called the retreat house about 4 days after it began and demanded to speak to me. When they explained that was not allowed she gave them a piece of her mind, then calmed down and asked if I would call her on the last day. (this was before cell phones)
The second thing I learned is a cornerstone of Buddhism, and my own faith, to be present in the moment.
How many moments pass by us every day? We’re stressing about a meeting coming up; we’re cussing some bad driver in traffic (that bad driver is always the other person right?) or maybe we’re just wasting our time staring at our phone or some time wasting app or computer game when there are live people right next to us! Sometimes it’s our own family we’re ignoring.
Not all moments are great ones; some are sad; some are frustrating. Buddhists try to stay even keeled through the emotional highs and lows of life. I enjoy the ride too much. In fact I love the highs when you feel like dancing like snoopy and I really appreciate the care and concern I get from my wife, children and family and friends and coworkers when things are not going my way. As Frank Sinatra sang, “…riding high in April, shot down in May”, although I hope it’s not this May.
Either way, That’s Life! and a life lesson. Keep your eyes open, show up and enjoy the ride!
*I just had to add this addendum. Thank God I proofed this! In the third graph I had written I ironed my shorts instead of my shirts. I’m a little starchy but that’s over the top… or is it under the bottom?