Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Win, Lose Or Draw


    This time of year and through the holidays is my favorite time of year!  There is a feeling in the air - a crispness that says "change is coming."  Things that have run their course wither and seemingly die.  In actuality, they don't just "die" but are transformed into another form that is nonetheless as productive as when they were in full bloom.  Their remnants, whether withered leaves or tiny brown acorns or fallen seeds, find their way into the deep dark soil - underfoot by children playing in the leaves or rain churning up the dirt; by that last mowing to the lawn of the season or in some areas, snow entombing them in a frozen grave.  There really is something captivating in "change" - watching things that go from being beautiful or amazing, to being uncomely or downright disappointing!  Somehow, the changes of Fall create a sense of wonder and anticipation in a strange kind of way.

     As I thought about the change that comes with Fall, I thought about a very strange parallel - college football!  Yes football!  Watching my favorite team play is my favorite Fall pastime and is especially big here in the South... okay here in Alabama where the Crimson Tide is about as revered as the greatest leaders of the world - sometimes even more!  For as long as I can remember, I have been a "Tide" fan.  "Bama Babies" learn to say "Roll Tide" almost before "mama or daddy!"  One thing about a true BAMA fan is that they are loyal to their boys "win, lose or draw."  For the last several years, the Crimson Tide has been on top - walking away with several national championships and are on their way to possibly doing so again.  However, there have been several seasons over the years when they were far from being Number 1.  There have been quite a few nail-biting, heartbreaking and nerve-racking games that left that sinking feeling in the bottom of everyone's stomach.  Still, come the next day, you could hear the buzz around town... "That's okay.  We love our boys.  They'll get 'em next time.  ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!"  Yes a fan is a fan is a fan - no matter what - "win, lose or draw."
     Now I have met some people who have no concept of what a fan truly is.  They have a character flaw that we would describe here in the South as being "anybody's dog that will hunt."  They might be a fan as long as their team or their sports hero is on top, as long as their political candidate is winning, as long as their boss is patting them on the back or their family is the envy of the community.  But you let a defeat come, you let a human failure manifest and they "tuck tail and run" - chasing after the scent of what's down the next trail.  I said I had a parallel between the changes of Fall and football so here's my point.  When a tree loses its leaves in the Fall, when the blooms of a bush wither and die, when you can no longer smell the aroma of Spring in the air, do you simply cut down your trees and foliage as though they will never produce again?  No!  You understand that even in the "death process" something new is taking place.  There is a seed of change being buried deep down in the soil of transformation that quite possibly will produce unprecedented growth in the months to come!
     "Win, lose or draw..." what does that mean to you?  To me, it means if you are a person of faith then no matter what, you stand firm on your belief and commitment to your Creator.   You understand you are truly on the "winning team" even if it is an "off season."  If you are a companion, then you lock your hand in the hand of your loved one with total devotion and do not allow the seasons of change destroy a beautiful opportunity for growth and renewal.  You continue to march down the field with your head held high and pride beaming from the eyes of love.  As a friend or family member, parent or sibling, you remain diligent in tending to the soil of those close to you, planting seeds of hope, showering them with encouragement and patiently waiting through the coldest winter of their lives for the day when new buds begin to sprout and new sprigs begin to pierce through the dark caverns of their hearts.  You assess the strength of the latest opponent and stand in your loved ones' corner, either coaching them or cheering them on as they train for the next big event.  I hope you can feel the same crispness in the air that I am feeling this Fall!  Listen to it in the rustling of the leaves, feel it in the cool mornings, smell its freshness after the gentle rains or even the fiercest winter storms.  It is the sights, sounds and touch of love.  Whether we love the game, love the sport, love the competitiveness, love the challenge, love the under dog... a fan is a fan is a fan - "win, lose or draw!"
"Love is patient... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails..."