by Carole Towriss
The week before last my daughter made the varsity volleyball team. She’s the only sophomore on the team. The same week, two of her best friends didn’t make the cut for their JV soccer and dive teams. They had worked just as hard as she had, all summer long.
Like almost everyone else, we’ve been watching the Olympics the last couple weeks. I would venture to say that every Olympic athlete has put their life on hold for the last four (or eight or twelve) years, sacrificing more than I could possibly imagine. They strained relationships as well as muscles, gave up movies and ice cream, and sometimes put years of education on hold. Every one of them. And yet in each duel, race, match, or game, only one individual or team took home that elusive gold medal.
Disappointment. It hurts, especially when we don’t deserve it. Some of those athletes were injured out of the block, their only chance vanished like smoke into before they even began. Others lost a medal when someone else won it in a way some would consider cheap. Still others fought valiantly, only to lose at the last second after hours of competition.
But it always hurts, whether in sports or life. It’s how we handle that frustration that defines our character. One of my daughter’s friends decided to be the team manager when she didn’t make the team. The coaches so admired her attitude and tenacity they still wanted her around, even if she wasn’t going to be a player on the team.
We’ve heard about Abbey D’Agostino, the American runner who collided with a New Zealander and tore her ACL. She ended up with a chance to put her faith into practice in front of millions. “In theory I’ve known that trusting God and giving my whole self to him is the only way in which you can feel that peace and joy and satisfaction that he offers. But it’s another thing to experience that and to be caught up in a situation where what you believe is exposed.”
Her last-place finish allowed her to tell the world about Jesus, literally.
Other times we may never find a reason for our disappointments. I’ve written often about the loss of our first baby, and the birth of our daughter Emma exactly one year later on Christmas Eve. While it makes a nice story, it still doesn’t give me a reason for that heart-breaking loss.
Sometimes we are just ... disappointed.
And that is when we have to believe, as hard as it may be at that moment, that joy will come again.