Personal Parables, Uncategorized

From Either Side


One day my high school basketball coach asks me if I am left-handed.

He probably knows the answer. Although centers are not the greatest of ball-handlers, I think he wonders why I always drop the ball to my left. Most right-handed people don’t start out dribbling on their weakest side.

So I explain.

I started playing basketball in the fourth grade and was already head-and-shoulders taller than my teammates and opponents. But, I wasn’t a particularly aggressive player. Then, my family moved to St. Louis. I lost precious court and team time for two seasons. But, Dad put a hoop off our driveway like the one we had had back in Minnesota. He helped me set up a routine. He also showed me how to shoot from either side with the inside hand, the one closest to the basket and farthest from my opponent. The idea was it would give me a unique strategy to off-set any disadvantages.

The coach tells me to quit shooting with my left hand. It isn’t necessarily making me a better ball-handler either.

I smile.

I know what the real problems are. So does the coach, although he doesn’t quite say it.

I can’t make up for that lost time. We try sometimes to reset the game time when plays don’t go our way or someone forgets to stop or start the clock. That doesn’t mean time isn’t passing by while we figure out how to correct what went wrong or argue a call or come up with a different strategy. Think of every cliche for time, and the answer is the same. We cannot control this thing that doesn’t actually exist, but that seems to control every aspect of our lives.

I might make the team, but that doesn’t mean I’m accepted. I can be the top rebounder in the summer leagues and continue my shooting routine. My cross-country training can help me outrun my teammates and opponents up and down the court. Still, when teammates argue about who won’t be sitting at the end of the bench, it make senses to tell them to move down. It makes sense to choose that seat for myself.

It makes sense to keep doing what my dad taught me to do. By now, it is a practice-made habit. Protecting my shot makes sense. Dropping the ball to dribble left makes sense, too. More often than not, it throws my opponents toward the weaker side, which makes my cross-over stronger.

Yet, eventually, it makes sense to stop playing this game and start taking singing lessons.

I discover, however, it makes sense to apply my basketball knowledge to other games. Weak or strong, I can still shoot from either side with my inside hand. It isn’t always about protecting my own shots. Sometimes it is about protecting and rebounding my teammates shots. Sometimes it is all about which end of the bench I choose. By now, it is a practice-made habit.

Because I have already made this team and have been accepted. Because no time is truly lost since God controls the game clock. Because I know my Coach has given me a unique strategy to off-set any disadvantages. Because it simply makes sense to keep doing what My Abba teaches me to do, especially those singing lessons. It throws my opponent off every time.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

One Good Thing Every Day 2014

One Good Thing Every Day: The Summer of Our Couch Content

Philippians 4:12-13 NASB

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Recently, I heard an excellent sermon entitled “Just One More Thing.” The speaker displayed a photograph of his guitar collection lined up on a his couch, which immediately caught the attention of the guitarists in my family. Even I was impressed. He said he has been asked which one is his favorite–his grandfather’s banjo, the Les Paul, the Fender Stratocaster. He admitted, “It is the one I don’t have yet.”

The scripture of the morning came from Philippians 4:10-13, 19. As the speaker continued, I began to think about what it is in my life I seek to satisfy my soul. A stunning realization hit me.

While I enjoy certain possessions and desire a comfortable life, these are not what contend with my contentment. My contentment, more often than not, is contingent on the contentment of others.

Momentary despair sunk in. There is not enough time and money to make everyone in my life happy. There is certainly not enough of me! But, then I thought about the picture the speaker showed before the guitar collection. It was his family.

I realized the collection on my couch of contentment must include those people of highest importance–my husband, my three boys, and me. I almost left myself off the couch because after all someone has to take the picture, someone has to make happiness happen. But, that’s part of the problem. I need to couch myself with them. If I don’t, I’m apt to run off to help someone else with their couch content. Or worse, I allow someone else to ease their way onto my couch and push aside those who have the only right to be there all the time. I am one of those. The four sitting on the couch want me there, too.

Where is the Philippians 3:12-13 message in that? Sometimes it takes more strength to let go than it does to hang on. Sometimes it takes more strength to hold on than it does to let go. No matter how I view the photograph, if  I recline myself on God’s divan, I find myself blessed.


What or who rests on your couch of contentment?



One Good Thing Every Day 2014

One Good Thing Every Day: March 4, 2014

Psalm 144:15 NKJV

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

Psalm 46:1-3, 10 NASB

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”