My husband, Murray, won a trip to Japan to watch the Rugby World Cup next month. He was super excited. He’s never been to Japan or the Rugby World Cup.
He said No thanks.
Because going would mean missing our son Scott’s 9th birthday. And we know – the way parents Just Know – that missing this particular birthday isn’t an option. Murray loves travel, adventure and rugby. He loves Scott more. By my wifely reckoning, that makes him a hero.
So it didn’t surprise me when Scott came somewhere-near-the-back though not-quite-last in the school cross-country race because he stopped to wait for – and walk with – a (slower) (larger) (less fit) friend. Scott loves running. He loves his friend more. Slowing down for the slower is something his hero of a dad would do, so he’s slow-running in those hero footsteps. He might just become a hero too.
My boys are totally normal, if normal’s a thing. Like all kids, they want to be the fastest, fittest, coolest, strongest, cleverest, funniest kid. They want to score in the matches and come top of the class and be invited and included and applauded and affirmed –
Because that’s what the world calls Hero.
But when they’re chasing that title I see their disappointment and disillusionment because there’s always someone faster, fitter, cooler, stronger, cleverer and funnier and if there isn’t, it’s only because they haven’t met them yet, and that’s just a matter of time.
There are limits to everybody’s brilliance. Somewhere, somehow, sometime, we all get to the end of ourselves. And then, how do we deal with the truth that we can’t be any more of a hero than this?
I’m trying to teach my boys (trying being operative, as opposed to succeeding):
Vying for first in any measurable arena is all good, so long as you know you won’t be first forever. Also, once you’re at the top of any ladder, any next step is a rung down.
The one thing that’s lidless and limitless is becoming like Jesus.
There’s no ceiling on growing in godliness. There’s no threshold on Christ-likeness – and when we reach the threshold of eternity He’ll gloriously complete our transformation.
There’s nothing stopping our kids aiming to be the most-like-Jesus humans that ever there were. There’s nothing stopping me. There’s nothing stopping you.
Our minds and muscles are finite. But we have access to boundless grace and Holy Spirit power.
So it’s a marvellous, staggering truth that, though we might not have a choice about our brains, looks, raw talent or right-time-right-place opportunities, and though we might quickly exhaust our competence and capacity in all those things, we do have a choice, in every moment, to do what pleases God, or not.
Let’s pray we and our kids understand: the only Heroes Hall of Fame that matters is the chamber of the heart, which only ever gets One Very Important Visitor. Let’s live less for the wonder of throngs, and more for the One on the throne.
. . .
Happy weekend! For your viewing pleasure: this is what happens at bedtime when your Dad is cool.
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