Last week, we had one of those days. We were having a nice family outing, just the three of us, with plans for dinner company at our house later that night. No sooner had I snapped this picture of James on my phone, then it rang.
Our scheduled plans immediately fell by the wayside and instead of the calm evening we envisioned, we were thrust into hours of high stress, sadness, confusion, and fear. It’s always strange looking back on a day’s end when you finish it in a place that is so unexpected. However, there’s nothing like having experienced a major medical crisis in our past to put current situations in perspective. Nonetheless, as life often does, you find yourself at the end of the night feeling the weight of life’s pain, unable to even consider sleep.
I looked over at Katherine, and though it was very late, we knew what we had to do. We flipped on the Netflix and scrolled down the “Watch It Now” selections to what has become one of our favorite shows, “Friday Night Lights“. Now, if you have never seen this TV show, we highly recommend it. The way it portrays families, communities, and faith is so authentic and moving. The characters and the story lines are engaging and beautifully wrought. It’s often messy and bittersweet, but there is an unmistakable thread of hope that runs through its entirety. It’s one of those shows that when it ends, it makes you more sad than it should–it’s that good.
We started the series when Katherine was in the hospital for her facial surgery last fall (almost exactly a year ago; the 17th), and as fate would have it, we were on the very last episode of the 4th season (there’s a 5th and final season, not yet on Netflix). We snuggled up for the show, which as one could imagine, culminates in a dramatic football game between two rival high school football teams, one privileged, with a long winning streak and the other a wrong-side-of-the-tracks, underdog team–the dramatic tension being that the coach of the underdog team (and main character of the show) was previously the coach of the privileged team.
“Friday Night Lights” is the kind of show that doesn’t always have happy endings, so the ending to this game was hardly a sure thing, and we sat with baited breath to see if the underdog kicker would make the 46- yard field goal. Well, he did, and the underdogs won the big game, against all odds.
Needless to say, we were so engrossed in this story that we forgot a little of the hurt from the events of our own night. But as we returned to reality and it melded with the victory that we had just witnessed on screen, a clear thought came to mind. We are all the underdogs. We like to think that we’re the camera-ready, super humans who easily pull out the win, but honestly, we are the out of shape n’er-do-wells, with mediocre talents. Some of the hardest moments in life are those when we catch glimpses of this truth and are faced with the reality that our chances of surviving on our own, let alone winning, are slim to none. However, as followers of Christ, we play out this game with the ultimate underdog leading us forward, God in the form of a real man, perfect but plain, almighty but unassuming, not exactly the stereotypical victor. But in a certain sense, Christ comes to turn all that we think we know upside down. The inevitable loss written on the defeated face we see in the mirror is wiped away clean in the hope of His victory. Needless to say, though we didn’t sleep too long at that point in the night, we slept in peace.