Where There’s a Will There’s a Way!

Have you seen this?!! Paul Pierce’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer wins it for the Wizards. https://youtu.be/oDg3cuFF4k4

But who is that fan who runs out into the celebratory huddle? OMG -I know him! That’s Will Smith. He even made the Washington Post.

Will is the son of upstanding members of our church community. I know because I had Will in a Confirmation small group I facilitated a few years back. He’s a good boy. Well-mannered, always participated, never gave me any trouble, except what you’d expect when you get a dozen 13 year old boys together in church class and a bit of youthful energy gets the best of them.

Now he’s a college freshman, newly home from school, and he was lucky enough to get floor seats for that post season game. But what in the world was he thinking running out onto the court like that?

“Well, we (he and two buddies from high school) had floor seats on the baseline,” he told me by phone. “When I saw the shot go in, I didn’t hesitate. Five seconds later, I’m in the pile…”

Until he got shoved out of the way by the ESPN photographer. That seems to have brought Will to his senses. He suddenly realizes where he is and what he’s done and slinks off, security guard in tow, hoping no one else has noticed. Except thousands of people did, and now have contacted him about his fifteen seconds of fame.

“Seeing the replay,” he tells me, “I realized the audacity of what I did.”

What made him do it? He’s not sure. Will calls himself ‘outgoing’ and ‘maybe a bit impulsive’. Well, I’ll say! The kid’s got spunk. Let’s call it passion. He’s been a Wizard’s fan “forever,” his mom tells me. They’re his team. It’s only natural; the moment Will saw that shot go in, he was on his feet and celebrating with his teammates.

You just have to love that about youth. They don’t always consult their brain before they act on their emotions, and sometimes it lands them in some pretty crazy places…like center court at the Verizon center.

Honestly, I love it! It reminds me of Peter, yeah that Peter. Not when he refused a foot washing, or when he denied Jesus three times, but when, seeing the Lord on the shore, he “wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” ( John 21:7) Heart over head moment: swim for it!!

The Lord was not mistaken when he named Simon Peter and declared, “On this rock I will build my church.” That Peter was an outspoken and ardent disciple of Christ. But that’s how love and devotion act. How impulsive!

I confess a bit of envy at the nerve of my young friend Will. As I get older I find myself thinking long and hard before taking action. I consider the consequences, weigh the costs and benefits, and am too often guilty of staying put and applauding politely for my team in victory. Deep down, I wish I had a bit more Will, or a bit more Peter, in me: more teammate, less spectator.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, Pierce’s 3-pointer didn’t beat the buzzer in game 6. They needed you, Will Smith. We all need you. Every team needs a passion like that.

St. Peter would be bursting his buttons, if he had any…

Funeral for a Phone

Phone black.
black - power buttonNo on. No off.
No apps, no emails, no blogs.
No hits, no runs, no errors.
Inning over.

Wait a minute.
What is that I hear?
…the sound
of silence.
Of no one calling,
No texts, no messages, no Facebook.

New game:
Watch the road and let the mind wander at red lights.
How cute that couple, wonder if they see that in their handhelds.
What? You texted? Sorry, tell me what you wanted to say.
Take your time. Nothing urgent.

There it sits.
Phone still black.
No on. No off. I tried.
Old habits die hard.
Oh, how this habit has made itself at home.

seeping in,
filling every crevice,
engaging every neuron,
flowing through every artery,
extracting the oxygen of life.

Hey, that’s mine.
Thief, give it back!
Then you died
and left me … everything.
Funny, I hadn’t noticed
it had gone missing.

New game:
forced phone-fasting.
Wasn’t my idea.
Hope it catches on.

We can form teams,
print jerseys,
go out for pizza,
share a few laughs.

Sorry, phone, you’re not invited.
You’ve had your fun.
Now it’s my turn.


Six Perfect Words: I Just Love to Watch You Play

“I just love to watch you play.”

Jodi Pink Nallas Fall 95These are the six simple words I would like to tell my kids after every game, every performance, and every event. It’s the one thing I want them to know, and it’s been this way since…well, forever.

I remember my delight at watching them find their hands, accidentally bat their toy and then do it again on purpose. I loved watching them smile, then giggle, then sing when they discovered their voice. I could have watched for hours as they colored and drew, built and toppled, shaped and folded, wrote and re-wrote. The look of concentration on their face as they worked out what they “meant” was priceless. It’s etched on my memory. I just loved that. Just love that. IMG_3434

They wouldn’t have understood then why it gave me so much pleasure to watch them play. Yes, play, it is said, is the work of children, but it’s more. It’s discovery and daring. It’s success and failure. It’s frustration and elation. Watching children engage in this is like watching the moment of Creation itself. From nothing comes something, and they’re as surprised as I am at what turns up.


It’s mesmerizing, and that’s a good thing because had I stepped in, to guide the hand, balance the block, or re-write the sentence, it would all have ended right there. Instead, I watched in complete amazement with one thought: “I love to watch you play.”

So, today as I watch my children in their life of play, I sit amazed and mesmerized. Of course, now they have surpassed me. There is no temptation to interrupt or correct, just watch and smile, and if they’ll let me, I sing their praises. They know I love what they do, but mostly I love them and especially to watch them at play because that’s where I can see best who they really are and who they’re becoming.

“I love to watch you play”: the six best words in a parent’s vocabulary. Nothing else. No buts, becauses or excepts. We stop there, at play, because on the 7th word, we rest.girls atop hike


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