A couple months ago I found this on facebook...
For some reason this really hit home to me. I think in analogies quite often and this described faith perfectly to me. Faith doesn't take away the pain. It's helps you deal with it. I feel the same about courage.
As I continue to watch my MENN grow up, I am continually reminded how often they need to push down the pain or discomfort and dig deep for their courage. This week I was shown again.
2 years ago Ethan broke his leg quite badly playing soccer. Last spring he wasn't quite ready to get back onto the field, and I was right there with him. The thought of him out there didn't agree with me either. He worked hard though, swimming and playing other sports, and managed to build his muscle back up, but he ended up missing two seasons worth of soccer skills. This made him nervous. This year he decided he wanted to play again and was put on a team with a great group of boys. However, quite a few of the boys on his team played indoor soccer all winter, and they all are used to working together and relying on each other. Again with the nerves. Every day after soccer practice he would tell me that he felt like he didn't fit in, and that he was worried he'd let his team down. He also admitted to me that he was now afraid of the ball, and afraid to fight for it.....I didn't blame him. So, I would listen to him vent, validate how he was feeling, and then encourage him to try to push past the fear a little bit more every practice. Saturday it payed off. Saturday he played his first game, and it was also part of a tournament.
At first I could tell he was nervous. The ball would come to him, and he would just get rid of it. Then came the moment. He was about 15 feet away from where I was sitting and the ball came to him. He looked about to panic and send it off when I called out;
"You've got time!"
With that, his head came up, he settled the ball, got around the player coming at him, and as he headed up field with the ball, heard one of his team members (who was bookin' it up the field) yell;
He sent the ball flying to the player who called for it. My boy was back in the game! I'm not gonna lie, I teared up a bit. He had momentarily faced his giant, and won. Confidence was restored. However, with every forward movement there is a set back, and he fought his lack of confidence through the entire tournament. In the end, he had assisted his team all the way to win gold, and he could clearly see what he needed to improve, and where he was an asset. Also, when all was said and done, he came to me and said;
"Mom, I also made a few new friends today!"
Nathan's was also through soccer. One day in the kitchen, Nathan expressed to me that he knew he was a bit of a poor sport when it came to losing. I thought it was because he was the youngest and could rarely beat the older 3 boys in anything. He set me straight. He explained that every year he has played soccer, he's been on a winning team. He's never really learnt how to lose at a sport graciously. This intrigued me, but instead of flogging the topic, I let it drop. Last week he had his first soccer practice and I watched as dread spread over his face. He had been placed on a team with a lot of first time players, and to make things worse, his coach was female... :) This worries him, and makes me smile. However, again, I bit my tongue! So, after practice last Wednesday, Nathan and I were walking across the field, when he dropped his giant on me. He had waited until we were out of ear shot of his coach and other players and said to me;
"Mom, remember how I said I struggled with being a poor sport? Well, I think this year I'm gonna learn that lesson."
I have to admit, as hard as it will be to watch, I kind of hope he does... :)
Nolan's was a bit different. It happened on Saturday during a 3 KM race he ran called Ole's Spring Run Off. He was super pumped to be running this race with his Triathlon club and was in a great mood to start the morning. We arrived at the park location, and as the music blasted and people arrived, you could feel the energy building. As the warm up started and Nolan was getting ready, he looked at me and said;
"I'm glad you haven't given me the 'It's OK to run until you feel like puking!' speech."
I laughed at him and told him to just go have fun, and no matter what, I was super proud of him. He gave me a hug and off he went. When the run started, I ran around to different check points taking photos of him and cheering him on. When he came rippin' across the finish line he came straight to me and said;
"My legs are burning and I feel like puking! But that was so fun!"
Ummmm....OK. I'm sorry, but seriously? Who is his real Mom?? Anyway! I was so proud of him for pushing himself. Then he said;
"I like this way better then cross country even!"
That spoke volumes because the boy LOVES Cross Country.
He was pumped! Out of 62 competitors he placed 12th overall. Out of his age group, he placed 4th. The best part of the day though was when he came to me with a huge smile and said;
"I don't even care about where I placed! I just wanna run!"
Bless his heart!