Acknowledge your blessings

June 21, 2007 | 6 comments

Last weekend, my wife and I took our son to a large out-of-town tennis tournament for junior players. It was his first major event to participate in as a competitor, and we were all excited about the opportunity for him to play with other strong players from around the Pacific Northwest.

He did well, winning his first two matches, 6-4, 6-2, then 6-1, 6-1. He got trounced in the semi-finals by a far more experienced player who was also older and much bigger. But that was okay. We had reached our goal of gaining experience and playing the field to see what the competition was like.

The next day, I told a friend that I had spent part of the weekend watching my son compete in the tournament, and she replied, “How cool to be able to watch your son play tennis!” It was a simple statement, but stopped me dead in my mental tracks.

I hadn’t thought of being there in Ellensburg with Tyler as “way cool.” Yes, I was the one who encouraged him to participate in the first place. I was the one committed to getting him there and ensuring all went well. At the last minute, my wife was free to come too. And yes, I was excited about seeing him play. But I hadn’t thought in terms of “How cool…” I had seen the activity as just another part of raising children and living a family life.

But my friend was right. It was “cool!”

My friend had a different perspective. She was one longing for a family herself, and even children, and I had these things. So when she heard about the father/son activity, it was easy for her to see how special the experience was. I, as dad for fourteen years, had taken the privilege for granted.

I will not do that again! At least, to the best of my abilities… 🙂

From that one simple observation of my friend, I have become more aware than ever to not take anything about our children’s growing up years for granted. It’s too precious. It happens once. Every activity they are involved in, every job they do, every assignment they complete, every smile they make, every idea they share, is cool! It’s the divine unfolding in their unique identities as children of God.

And what conscientious parent would want to miss out on even one of those special moments!

How cool…

6 thoughts on “Acknowledge your blessings”

  1. This is wonderful — really.

    Just one question though…
    If this is something you wanted in your life but it never worked out, how do you keep from feeling discontented or incomplete? It seems like such a wonderful, not to be missed, experience.

  2. To above,

    When things don’t work out the way we had wanted them to work out, that means God has a better plan. And we want to stay open and receptive to the better plan. Of course, if we stay mesmerized by disappointment and unhappiness, we are likely not seeing the better plan, so the quicker we dispense with the old, the sooner we’re ready for the new and improved.

  3. I understand and totally agree with what you are saying above with one exception. I must admit when it comes to marriage and family I have a hard time seeing how being single and alone could ever be a better plan than having a family — spouse, kids, grandkids. Clearly there is a blind spot in my thinking on this issue. I must have missed a road sign along the way somewhere.

  4. A wonderful spouse, great kids, certainly are a blessing. But it’s just one of the ways that Love meets our needs. There was a time when I was divorced, without family or friends and in a miserable state. That empty space was totally filled by my dog! Many years later, I am blessed with a wonderful family (and always dogs) but also I have seen people in unhappy marriages and troublesome children that brought nothing but grief and heartache. Things can always seem better on the other side, but I found that God meets our need for love and completeness independent of the human circumstance. To say it can only come in one form is very limiting, and not always the rosy picture one might assume. God imparts all good to all, and keeping our thought open to what that is will show us in tangible ways that we have the blessing of completeness, happiness, and companionship, whatever form that may take! No need to despair!

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