Unswervingly

Last night, Matt and I watched the movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It tells the haunting story of a boy who loses his father on 9/11 and embarks on an almost obsessive mission to connect with his deceased dad. Oskar’s determination will not be crushed throughout the storyline. He truly holds UNSWERVINGLY to the hope that he will find a new meaning, a message, sent from his father.

On Thursday night, I finished my Friday Night Lights obsession, watching the last episode of the five seasons. I think I watched the entire series in record time. There was a hidden **something** in the storyline for me, that gripped me from the first show, the pilot. Football and Texas aren’t on my top ten list of deep loves, in all honesty, so I have to say, the show’s appeal is much deeper. Like Oskar, Coach Taylor, and so many of the characters in FNL have this same drive. A deeper SOMETHING that pushes them to be faithful to a mission and call. To profess hope, even when everything is stacked against them. To call out the possibility, even when finances, resources, circumstances and realities promise almost certain defeat.

I have many thoughts on Friday Night Lights and feel like the show pushed into a deeper heart place for me. Watching the marriage of Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami. Witnessing the parenting moments with Julie or lack of parenting with many of the students. Observing Tami’s professional and career paths, struggles, questions and stops/starts. Seeing the racial and socioeconomic tensions fester, explode, be patched and also left gapingly unhealed. To watch the interplay with religion and families and real life stuggles, the questions left unanswered.  There were so many themes that left my heart raw and my mind churning.

I don’t want to give away anything from the show, in hopes many of you will watch it if you haven’t already. The theme that keeps swirling for me, though, is the idea of holding unswervingly to the hope we profess. Knowing that God is faithful. Holding UNSWERVINGLY is a big statement. No doubts, no sideward glances, no questioning? All the while, believing that the promise is one we can put our weight on, clinging to God’s faithfulness.

As I watch many friends enter into unknown, tricky places and try to stay standing, let alone holding unswervingly, marching forward with their tambourines (Oskar’s method of staying calm while on his mission in the movie), or charging the “defense” of the opposing team, it just seems hard to hold onto hope some days.

Continually, though, I have moments where I am reminded that we are not in this fight alone. This journey is not meant to be walked or lived on an island of one. Unknowingly, Oskar’s mom is with him all the while, even when he *feels* alone. Coach Taylor continues to, even in his {strong and silent type way}, push, encourage and accompany students through unimaginably hard times, giving them the footing to press on when circumstances seem oppressive and impossible. Our God, who often can seem distant, is ever present, often in the hands and feet and words and presence of those around us.

The call to be the scaffolding for those around us can be so challenging. And accepting that same communal support can feel even tougher. It is my understanding, though, that God seeks to use us to be God’s own hands and feet. To remember that our energy, effort and love will never fully allow us to “hold on”….that letting go often is the key to fulfilling the promises set before us. Without giving away the ending of the series, I think Coach Taylor’s path at the end of the last episode displays just that theory. As he continually reminds, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts”, truly “Can’t Lose”.

p.s.  The wonderful print in the top picture is a free printable from the amazing blog, Take Heart, written by Danielle Burkleo.  If you want to print one for yourself, here’s the link to her post!

One thought on “Unswervingly

  1. I just loved Friday Night Lights! I, however, love it more having watched it again through new eyes as you so eloquently describe the deeper themes and meanings in the show. You truly have a gift for writing and for seeing God in EVERYTHING, I am in awe of that.

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