For the Love of the Game
I was planning on doing some work last week to publish a couple of articles, but with my younger brother in town, whom I haven’t seen in three years, I decided to just take the week off and spend that time with him. It was a good thing I did. He left on Saturday. On Sunday, the government called him to inform him he was being reactivated and was being deployed overseas effective immediately.
This, of course, made no sense to me. Why is the government reactivating reservists and sending them overseas?
He has no idea where he’s going or when. He was just given a time frame to get his affairs in order. He’s being deployed for two years overseas.
Nice little surprise to drop into our laps after Christmas. The silver lining here is that we got that Christmas week to spend together before the government intervened in our lives.
It’s quite odd, actually. On Sunday, I had pulled out a tin of letters my grandfather had kept from World War I and World War II. I had read the letters from an uncle that served in WWI in France. He wrote as if no one was receiving his letters. He wrote of his missions and the things he had seen.
I read the letters my great-grandmother wrote to my great-great grandmother during WWII. She told stories of my grandfather serving in France and how my baby cousin looked exactly like my great-uncle. This was years before my father was even born.
I don’t know what drew me to those letters yesterday, but today, I read text after text from my brother on how he’s being deployed overseas. I think something in me knew the way the fate cards were landing in the universe and that’s what drew me to the letters.
I was in awe that many of the letters I held in my hands were over 100 years old. The letters during WWI are closing in on 100 years old. Many of the letters I held were from 1892-1911. These are the letters that survived and were passed down from generation to generation. The photographs…the letters…and the little trinkets my uncle from WWI collected and put in a leather case with his initials on it. These are memories of our family…memories of how the Scots served their country and the pride they had by enlisting and not waiting for the draft…just like every male child has done in our line.
I’ve been thinking a lot today of how my struggles with existence and God continue. Yesterday’s conversation with God returned to how a dream of having a family of my own never came to fruition. I had to give up the dream. The very next day I realize that I may lose the only family I have left. God is taking him away from me and who knows if he’ll make it permanent so I can feel what it truly means to be alone without a family.
One of my resolutions for 2014 is to journal more so I can really sort out what is going on inside of me. Journals are great for letting yourself cry…and figuring out what your next step is going to be. When I wrote my 18 things I was afraid to publish, that was just the synopsis. The journal is meant for me to dive further inside of myself so that I can move on.
The last time I journaled was when I had my last broken heart. So it seems befitting that I picked up a journal again because apparently “How can you mend a broken heart?” keeps playing on my playlist randomly. You know…the Bee Gees and Al Green versions? Those songs keep playing again and again…and various other mopey broken hearted songs. You also know it’s bad when Sarah McLachlan is playing too.
Over these past few years, I’ve said again and again I don’t know why I ended up in hockey writing. I know now why I ended up in hockey writing.
I was reading Book 4 in “The Mortal Instruments” series and I read Clare’s mother’s comments on what we do for love. When we are in love, we try to do what that person does. We try to become a part of that dynamic of the things they love. We go where they go because it’s an opportunity to be near to them.
When we are in love, we go to where that person is in order to be close to them…to be with them…to see them.
I ended up in hockey writing because I had fallen in love. I had fallen for someone that God kept pointing out to me again and again. This guy was totally not my type. I could care less for what he means to everybody else. I could care even less how much money he makes. I fell in love with some guy God kept pointing out to me. I had fallen in love with the hopes of a dream coming true…
The key phrase here is that I had fallen in love with the HOPE that my dream would come true…to marry the one and have a family of my own.
I let go of that dream last April when I came out of retirement, sat down in that press box and cried. I embraced the reality of the situation…the dream never came true, nor was it ever going to come true. It was this reality that broke my heart.
I asked my brother if there was something wrong with me. He told me there was nothing wrong with me. He said that perhaps I had believed in a dream for so long that I had set my sights too high that I was not seeing all of these other guys looking my way. He remarked on all of the guys at my office that seem to show interest in me. He said that over the week he had been with me, he had noticed all of these guys looking my way with interest, but I walked right by them without even looking their way. I didn’t even acknowledge their existence.
He told me that I should set my standards a little lower, but not so low that it would take away from who I am. Just set the bar a little lower and take time to notice what I am attracting to me.
So that’s why the love for the game and everything surrounding it is gone. I got into hockey because I had fallen in love. Now I’m asking myself how I can mend that broken heart. You know that feeling when your heart has been broken and you want nothing to do with that world you had fallen in love with? That feeling that you want nothing more to do with your ex? You don’t want to see them. You don’t want to go anywhere where they are going to be. That’s how I feel.
So after writing everything down in my journal, crying tears and the cat looking up at me with great sorrow in her eyes trying to console me (she really is in tune with my emotions as of late), I flipped to a page in my journal of one of those inspiration boards I found on Pinterest about LIFE. The one that stuck out to me was “Forgive even when it’s hard.”
I cried when I read that (not like I wasn’t already crying). I wrote at the end of my journal entry “Forgive God even when it’s hard.”
I think we all come to that point in our lives where it feels like God has forsaken us, that he issued the greatest disappointment we have ever been dealt. This is the stuff that makes believers into non-believers because they are so angry with God. But I’ve experienced many amazing things in life. I know that the time to truly turn to God is when I’ve lost faith in Him…and I realize just how much I’ve asked of him. Sometimes I realize that God doesn’t always deliver to us what we want especially if you’re asking him to move the fucking moon and the stars for you to make your dream come true.
Sometimes you have to realize that you shouldn’t ask for the impossible.
I meditated after I wrote my journal entry last night. I poured out what was going on inside and God’s answer was to go back to the beginning (a theme I’ve heard over and over again for the last year). This time, the focus was on who I was.
Way back when, back when I made the covenant with God, I filled up my bank with good deeds. I did God’s work, expecting nothing in return. I kept saying that my reward was coming later. I was saving up my good deeds for something special.
Since then, I’ve had a very privileged life ever since I decided what I wanted out of life and that I wasn’t going to suffer to be happy. That had a lot to do with moving to NYC and getting a job that took care of me. I’ve had a great life in that regard. It’s afforded me freedom to do the things I’ve always wanted to do.
But while I was cashing in on a better life, I tried to continue the good works, but the passion to save the world went to the wayside. Even in that wish to save humanity or the Earth, it can break your heart every single second.
I decided to share my wealth in a variety of ways. During the holidays, I give much more than is asked of me, especially to children who wouldn’t even see a Christmas if it weren’t for the generosity of others. There are numerous children’s charities I give to every month. I even give to animal welfare charities.
I share that wealth not with adults that are responsible for their own fates, I give to those innocents that are forgotten and have no one. The homeless on the street make a choice to be there. There are ways to save yourself. But the children and animals are a different story. They need us. They can’t help themselves. They can’t go out and get a job to take care of themselves. They need the help of others above anyone else.
Those are the ones I share my compassion and wealth God has afforded to me. The rich have a secret…charity brings you greater wealth. But imagine the wealth you bring into your life when you give without expecting anything in return. If you make a conscious effort to continuously do good for those who need God in that moment, you’re earning your own treasure…payment for the work you’re doing that you can save up for a later date. Trust me, doing good works has its own rewards in every aspect of life that you could use a little something amazing.
A lot of people do this already. They do good, knowing that God will reward them later when they need it the most. These are also the same people that know that it costs you when you do bad deeds. It deplenishes your good deeds bank account very quickly. Life is about balance. If you want an amazing life, you tip the ‘good’ scale in your favor. What a horrible life? Tip the ‘bad’ side in your favor.
God’s answer to me has been to do service. To do good deeds, expecting nothing in return so that I can bank up for the future. This also includes love…give love without expecting any love in return. You do this for others, not for you. You give so that you may help others, not so that you can help yourself.
This is what it means for me to go back to the beginning. Sometimes in service you can learn to forgive God for disappointing you and destroying a dream that meant your entire existence…it’s by working hard doing the good things in life that we can find forgiveness…no matter how hard it is to come by.
I’m going to close with a story on one of the many reasons why I chose to help children and animals…it was something I learned while I was in Morocco…to help those who cannot help themselves. But it was the story of this photo of a vulture stalking a child that reminded me why I care so much and why something like this story reminds me of why I want to return to Africa.