Everyone has a “last game”.
Sports were my life from the age of ten until I got into my thirties. You never think about it when you are bouncing from sport to sport, team to team, coach to coach,…but one day you play your last game. It is hard enough when it is you that is playing but I found it is even harder when it is your child.
The picture below is that of my last son Taylor and me embracing after his last highschool football game in which they came out as victors in the State finals. It was an impromptu hug that a friend with a camera caught on the sidelines. I remember it as a long hug…perhaps it was a hug of realization that we would not be down this path again…or a proud hug remembering all of the great things learned from football…or a humble hug knowing that we were blessed to have had the opportunity to experience this together as a father and son. I don’t know. I just remember it as a long hug and one that touched me deeply.
We will all play in our “last game” one day. There will be lots of firsts and lasts in our lives. They could include actual sporting events but also could be saying goodbye to family and friends as you move to a new town or leave a job you have loved. It could be watching your kids graduate from school. It could be a career change or becoming empty nesters. We will all eventually hang up our proverbial cleats and move on with life.
The important thing to remember is that with the sadness of leaving something that has meant so much to us in the past, comes the excitement of new challenges and new experiences. By embracing these new experiences we do not reduce the significance of our past life but instead enhance them. Our lives in general become more flavorful, rich and meaningful. Moving on is one of the great blessings in this life and we should, when the timing is right, not fear it but see it for what it is…the next chapter in the wonderful story of our life.
Just a short time after that last football game, graduating from high school and finishing his freshman year in college, Taylor began his next adventure as a missionary in Taiwan. It was hard to see him leave us for two years but we were so happy for him. The picture below shows him pointing out Taiwan on the map in the Missionary Training Center before he traveled there. Notice that nowhere on that red head’s face was any sadness about his last football game pictured above. Moving on is not only ok; it is liberating and exciting.
When he completes his two-year mission in May, 2013 I know it will be sad for him to hang up his missionary “cleats” and move on to college and finding a job and beginning a family…but he will move on and each time he does, a new rich chapter in his life will be completed and another new and exciting chapter begun.
HighFive Your Life Principle: Embrace change when it is the right thing to do and move on. See where your life will take you, unfearing and with great anticipation for the future.