Winning the game was a very ingrained sentiment in my mind. I did not like to fail individually or as a team. That mindset was nurtured through the years as I continued to play competitive sports. It was especially true in college when the future employment of the coach depended upon developing winning teams. I did not want to be even a small cog in a wheel that caused someone to lose a job. Winning was not only important; it was essential.
The perspectives of life change as we age. Many of the things that seemed of the utmost importance in my younger years have faded with time. I am grateful for all the experiences that helped to shape the person that I have become, but I can look back and see those moments when my priorities were certainly out of balance. I am hoping and praying that I gain wisdom with each passing day to grow in union with Christ. That is a relationship that I don't want to lose.
I can't physically measure up to the qualities of Superman. I can't leap buildings in a single bound or fly; I am not more powerful than a locomotive; I can't stop a speeding bullet. It took me a long time to develop skills in basketball and baseball. It took months to learn how to water ski. Shooting a revolver at the firing range in the police academy took thousands of rounds before I could consistently hit a target. Some things have just not been easy tasks to accomplish. I put it all in to perspective today when I saw the following quote.
"If at first you don't succeed, sky diving is not your sport."
~Steven Wright (Actor, Comedian, Writer)
As pilgrims on a journey there are times when we fail to walk in the ways of the Lord. We choose to follow our will rather than God's will. Sin enters into our lives. The compassion, love, mercy, and forgiveness of God allows us to get back up and try again. It isn't a sky diving accident with no second chance. God invites us back over and over again.
The mercy of God is not something we should take for granted or carelessly abuse. There will come a point in time when our life on this earth is complete. When we stand before the judgment seat of God will it be evident that we sincerely walked in God's grace during our pilgrimage of faith? We do not earn our way to heaven. It is the gift of God's grace. God first loved us. On the other hand, that gift of love from God requires a response on our part. Will we accept or reject God's love?
In the Catholic tradition we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to specifically celebrate that generous forgiveness of Almighty God. What a tremendous blessing this sacrament of healing is for each of us! This ritual allows us to unburden our heart, mind, and soul before the throne of mercy. We walk away refreshed and renewed by the unfathomable depths of God's mercy and grace. We are blessed indeed!
If you are Catholic and have not recently utilized the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I encourage you to do so. Experience the fullness and richness of God's immense love and mercy through this beautiful sacrament. You will not be disappointed.