Lights Out.

     I suppose they tried to teach us a little bit about every sport in grade school P.E. so that when faced with watching or participating in these events we wouldn’t be totally clueless. I remember when our P.E. Teacher had us learning about and playing football. I remember fun phrases like “button hook” and “third down.” But I have no idea what they mean today. While watching a bunch of burly men playing this game, though, I like to pretend that I know what sort of pass or play they’re performing. I mean, it must have something to do with sewing if you ask me…like a button being sewn on by the “hook” motion of the needle and thread? So I try to find situations that look close to that and I think to myself, “Boy, that sure was a nice button hook.” (Disclaimer: I am a basketball girl and I DO understand those rules and plays. But everything else in sports…I’d give myself anywhere between a B & an F grade-wise depending on whichathletic event it is.)
     As I watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday night, I got teary eyed during America The Beautiful and The National Anthem. Now, I must say that I usually do get misty during patriotic songs anyway. But throw the Sandy Hook Elementary School Choir in there just months after some of their precious school mates’ lives were extinguished and that made for a major sobbing mess for this girl.
     For some reason it struck me this year that this big silly event is something that we take for granted as Americans. Die hard football connoisseurs and novices alike come out to celebrate this tradition, which has been woven into the fabric of our culture. There are people all over the realm of creation who don’t get the chance to enjoy the freedom to just sit back and gather together both live and by satellite to enjoy a sporting event like this. Many people around the world would just love to come out of hiding and enjoy a breath of the air of freedom, let alone join in the camaraderie of boisterously cheering for the team of their choice.
     I love the fact that the lights went out mid game this year. It was a beautiful reality check. It was also hilarious. Suddenly, as we saw the players of each team sprawled out stretching all their muscles in whatever unflattering position they wished right there in front of millions of people, it didn’t seem so serious. Though what we were all watching prior to these moments was an amazing experience of fun for the fans and giving it your all as a player who strives for victory and accolade, I was reminded that it is just a game. At the end of the day, somebody wins and somebody looses. The lights inevitably go out and everyone heads home for bigger and better things. Things that hold more weight in the scheme of eternity. The every day mundane things that no one may ever cheer for, but make a difference nonetheless.
     What kind of lights out experience have you encountered to bring you back to reality?
     In the middle of a fight with your spouse, did you feel a check in your spirit that you should shut up and move away from that argument because you realized you’ve been blessed by this person’s lifelong companionship and a love that you both have committed is worthy to fight for, which so many long for?
     In the middle of complaining about your job did you get an email asking for prayer for a friend who just lost their job and has no prospects on the horizon?
     In the middle of feeling like you’re at the end of your wits because your kids are working your nerves, did your heart sink when you heard of a loved one who just lost a baby in a miscarriage?
     In the middle of loosing power temporarily, did you pause before you shouted about it when you remembered your friends in Africa who have no electricity or access to clean water?
     When all you had to eat was PB&J or Ramen Noodles, did a Holy hush come down on you when your mind wandered to the thousands of people who will go t bed hungry tonight?
     These lights out moments are good. They are moments to remind us of how much we have to be grateful for- big and small- and the tasks that are most important for us to advocate for with the bulk of our strength and time. What sort of action do these Holy hush kind of moments spur you on to do?
     Here’s a secret. In those lights out moments, find the causes that are most apt to expose The Light of The World to others. Light shines most brightly in the darkness. If you do this, you’ll find much more victory than any athlete has ever gained from a title championship. These moments are full of opportunities to shine a candle of truth, grace, mercy, and love during dark times. When the lights of this life are snuffed out and you transition into the city that needs no lamp, you’ll see the rewards of the true victory you’ve come to not only from the salvation you received undeservedly, but also from the fruits that your salvation brought about. As you step into that beautifully illuminated place, you’ll see that The Light of The World makes all other flickers unnecessary. And you’ll find that as it turns out, the twinkles you’ve radiated during your days on earth were actually reflections of glory ablaze.


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