“Through heaven’s eyes.”

2.10.20

Dear dad,

I didn’t get invited to preseason for the Dash. Not going to pretend it doesn’t hurt. The pain is not from bitterness or regret though. It was a blast, and I had a great experience. The staff was top class and treated us professionally. I prayed I would be myself, and I was. I wanted my game to be a song, a sweet song to the universe, and I believe it was. Not saying it was perfect by any means, but my reactions to my mistakes were mostly proper and positive. I had so much fun playing with the other girls, talking with them, asking about their lives and where they’re at. It was a joy being amongst God’s people, and all glory to Him, I was able to see them as such. Less as competition and more as common creatures, coveted children. We were all one. Don’t let me fool you, this was not a perfect lens. There were cracks in which out of pure selfishness, I would celebrate another’s mistakes. But for sure more so than I have been able to in the past, I saw these girls through heaven’s eyes.

“So how do you measure the worth of a man

In wealth or strength or size?

In how much he gained or how much he gave?

The answer will come to him who tries

To look at his life through heaven’s eyes…”

I wrote to you the night before the tryout that it was time for the game to be my song, that I wanted to express my joy in the Lord with the ball at my feet. To be honest, I was mostly thinking about playing well, about playing freely so I could be at my best. I also shared with you my why. Why do I play and how do I know I can be a pro player? Just as I come to the church to know Him, I come to the field to know Him. Just as I come to the temple to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, so, too, do I lace up the boots to step into another version of His temple, a bit greener and sweatier. I play to know the heart of my Lord, and consequently, my own heart. How do I know I can be a pro player? Because I already am. All I need is already inside of me. My resolve is to seek out every bit of it, to unravel and unfold and unearth every part of the treasure.

I got to do just that this weekend. I got to find a greater love for my neighbor, my “competition.” I found greater love for God’s people, my fellow sisters, in an environment that says we are only in competition with each other. We pushed each other to be better at our craft, and it is easy to leave it at that. The true treasure is being able to love them wholly as people while doing so.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” –The Alchemist

I think it was the day after Christmas I wanted to get up and go for a run. Not super early. After all, it was Boxing day, so we were up watching Premier League games, Adam and I that is. I wanted to run to the forest preserve because if I remember correctly, I was feeling a bit dissatisfied with the things of man, fleshly and fleeting things. I asked Adam if he wanted to come, and to my surprise, he did. I figured it would be similar to the time we went for a run when I visited him in Orlando. I didn’t know where we were going, so he led and paced. Then at the end, recognizing the finish was getting close, I kicked it into gear and smoked him the rest of the way. This time I was the lead, knowing the way. Through the woods, I put some distance between us. The hills were unforgiving but no matter. I was up for it. As a good sister. I made sure I stayed close enough for him to see me and not get lost in the forest. I was moving though, so once we got back to the road, I slowed to a walk. He caught up and started walking too. After taking a couple minutes to recover, I started slowly jogging again. At this point, I am thinking it will be a nice pace on the way back; I’ll lead again and keep a steady speed. Not exactly the case. We were going downhill, and he starts booking it. I’m like okay he is just letting the momentum of the hill take him. Nope. He continued the same way when the road flattened out.

“Oh, hell no.”

I’m not about to let this happen. My legs are feeling the weight of the hills from the forest, but my mind is having none of it. Thus, commenced this back and forth dialogue between body and mind.

“Are you really going to let your brother beat you?”- Mind

“We already beat him through the woods, I’m tired.”- Body

“LET’S GO BABY, CMON! WE ARE GAINING ON HIM!!!”- Mind

My feet were hitting the pavement in a flurry. I see him go straight through the intersection with the walk sign in his direction. I cut left, so I don’t have to stop after the traffic switches. I no longer see him. 3 blocks to go. My legs are screaming, and my lungs are on fire. My heart is about to burst out of my chest. 2 left. One…

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

I see him at the cross street just as I am about to get to the stop sign at the corner. He cruises in front of me, smiling the whole 50 yards left to our grandparent’s house, beating me to the finish. He goes right to the backyard. I keep walking down the street to let myself recover but more so cool off. I am livid.

As a fierce competitor, losing is the worst of the worst. As a younger sister and fierce competitor, losing to my brother is inconceivable, physically gagging. This is just part of how I am wired, and it has pushed me to greater and greater heights athletically. However, the real genius of competition is in the resolve, not the results. Pastor Mike Todd of Transformation Church recently spoke of this idea, and I think the quote from The Alchemist sums it up in the best way. Here it is again.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” –The Alchemist

I love my brother. We are siblings. I want him to be the best he can be. Do I also want to beat him and be better than him? Of course, I can’t always help it. But at the end of the day, it is not about us comparing ourselves to each other or being better than each other; it is about him being his best and me being my best. Him loving himself to become better and loving me to become better. Me loving myself to become better and loving him to become better. He won the race that day, but he made me better. He pushed himself to be better, and it was contagious.

Thus, this is the treasure of the tryout. I didn’t just see my competition, I saw my siblings. I didn’t just see their ability, I saw their heart. I didn’t just play soccer with them, I asked about their lives, listened, joked, talked, encouraged and loved them, genuinely.

“No life can escape being blown about

By the winds of change and chance

And though you never know all the steps

You must learn to join the dance

You must learn to join the dance.

So how do you judge what a man is worth

By what he builds or buys?

You can never see with your eyes on earth

Look through heaven’s eyes

Look at your life

Look at your life

Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.”

Through heaven’s eyes.

Love, Lauren

PS- If you have not heard that song, look it up ASAP. Better yet, go on and watch The Prince of Egypt.

larry_saj6Author

"Surely man at his best is a mere breath." -King David I am a mere breath God has graciously gifted to be His daughter first, a daughter and sister, a friend, an athlete, a writer, a coach. I hope to be a full-time professional soccer player, write a book or two, be a lifelong learner, work for a sports and faith ministry, coach college soccer, have a family and maybe even pick up the guitar. My dad died when I was a sophomore in college. Writing became especially important to me after his death, helping me grieve and heal. I find writing letters to him has helped me process deep emotions and pain I didn't really know what to do with. My hope is the letters will share experiences that speak to and shine a light into the lives and stories of others in some way.

Leave a Reply