Thursday, March 06, 2008

Are You Ready?

This is my column from the March issue of our diocesan newspaper

When I was in college a group of us discussed “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. There was one answer that puzzled me. A young lady in the group said she wanted to be a “star”. That puzzled me then and it puzzles me now. Based on the lives of some of our current generation of “stars” the concept looks greatly overrated. Then and now what I hope for IF I ever grow up is that I'll be good enough at what I do to earn the respect of the people around me. Maybe someday I'll get a shot at being a star (I'd do it right of course) but if I don't that's OK too. I want to be ready to do the right thing when the moment arrives.
I was thinking about that concept after this year's Super Bowl. Going into the game we knew who the “stars” were. Brady, Moss, Manning, Strahan. We expected them to do their star thing, to lead the way, to be the “story” of the Super Bowl. Instead we got David Tyree. Caught the first of the two Giants' touchdowns and made that incredible, holding-the-ball-against-his-helmet catch. David Tyree is going to be on NFL highlight films for the next 20 years.

Coming into that game David Tyree was about as far from a “star” as you can get.

For the season Tyree was the 12th most productive receiver on the team. He caught 4 passes. Four. None of them for touchdowns. He played in 12 games out 16 in the regular season and caught four passes. Two rookies caught more passes than he did.

But at the moment when he was needed, David Tyree was ready.

Sometimes it feels like the “star” game works its way into Christianity. We hear Christians who talk about being “Prayer warriors”, how strong in the faith they are, about what great mission work they're doing, how many souls they brought to Jesus. I'll admit that I even buy into sometimes. I look at them and think “Wow, I can't do that. They're accomplishing so much more.” It makes me feel bad. On really bad days it makes me wonder if I shouldn't just pack it in. I can never be a “star”. Sainthood is beyond my grasp. Besides St. Jay of Jamestown just sounds silly.

When I stop and think about it I realize I don't need to be a star. I need to work on being the best possible me I can. David Tyree showed up for practice every day. He worked hard. Most days no one other than his teammates looked at him twice. Until Super Bowl Sunday.

I don't know when my Super Bowl Sunday of faith may arrive. So I have to prepare every day, work on being the best child of God I can be at the moment. It's possible I'll never be a “star”. The day may come when I get the chance to show what a life in faith should look like. The day may come when I need to be a vehicle for Christ in the world. In fact those days probably come a lot more often than we realize.

Are you ready?


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