The Challenge of Blogging Now (Even When You Don’t Blog)


finally
photo credit: valiant aja First Order Stormtrooper via photopin (license)

Blogging happens even when I don’t blog.

Take the week that was. I met deadlines, commitments. I found myself at midnight, ready to write and read, yet short on midnight oil. One can’t burn what one doesn’t have. The writing mind kept sentinel, though, when my waking mind could not.

Strife swirled all around.

My city caught fire. Fellow citizens rose up and spoke out. Those of us who didn’t, wanted to. We felt, perhaps, shame in our voice. Undeserved shame. All voices warrant value. I held words in and wore my Broncos cap and saw connections between strife and tension.

I walked sidelines that were riddled with vitriol.

I traversed the horde, set hard in their divisions. Us against them, they’re wrong, we’re right. The refs hate our team. The girls on the other team are evil. Are you kidding me? Don’t let her push you. Retaliate.  Who are you passing to? Why do you need a water break?

I caught myself

phone pix 034.jpgJust watch them play, I said out loud, not entirely on purpose. Jesus.

I created as much division as I lashed out against. I walked away, looked at the field, and sought a new perspective. Like Elise’s 1-0 loss on Family Weekend, or Grace’s 6-1 loss on Thursday, Marie’s 1-0 victory on Sunday capped an incredible match of play.

It appeared obvious to those on the pitch, the significance; to those just off the touchline, amid folding chairs and angry words, remained oblivious.

On the field, the struggle is real. You want to move this way. We want to move that. The heat sears, the ball bounces, the opportunities arise and falter. Close scores and blowouts. The teams and the kids become part of a whole, a cosmic convergence, we fans fail to see.

We see only division.

We see it off the field. Hometown radio hosts bellowing how not-special an opponent is, even in the throes of a runaway victory. Citizens decry “it was a book!” and “he is a criminal!” and both sides failing to recognize any humanity because they’ve shunned it.

initiated

How many times can she do this?

I teetered on the brink of anger as I felt Elise’s match slipping away, even before the mortal score.

I rose with every save, and my heart sank with every counterattack. How many times can she do this? Can she keep turning them away? What if we go to overtime again? How’s her hip? How’s her defense holding up? What will happen next?

The shot that sunk them fired in on two misdirections.

Elise had answers for the first two, not the last. Only 5 minutes remained for her team to level the score. She hunched over, hands on knees, and two of her defenders knelt, broken hearted. One stood and embraced Elise. The clock ticked away, and another foul was called.

A dad from the other side turned to me.

“It’s been a tough day for calls,” he said, surprising me. “They’ve missed some obvious ones, and then those like that, you don’t know why they whistled it.” The call went against his daughter’s team as they fought to hold a lead. I stepped up right beside him.

A dad, from the other side, initiated this

We asked each other whose daughters were whose, and talked about how tough it is to win when you don’t score.

Two dads, one game. He recognized, perhaps easier than I, that our daughters were caught up in a whole that shared more in common than was at odds. The uniforms, opposite colors; the girls, cut from the same mold of hope and dedication and strength.

“Maybe we’ll see you down the road,” he said, and I wished him a safe trip back.

Women on Elise’s side shed tears after, manifested pain for having a match slip away again. Dual frustration, perhaps, for not finishing a scoring chance, and also for failing to defend the one against them.

The reaction might have puzzled the other team; they might have understood completely.

I’ve wanted to write about elephants, for weeks. I want to tie lessons we can learn from these magnificent beasts to the way we react in a tumultuous world. I see, instead, hours packed with dinner making and oil changes and trips to the next match.

‘I play football, too’

I see also, a sweet boy named Alex who approached me during halftime of Marie’s match Sunday. Grace and I tossed a football, and he chimed in.

“I … I … I …” he stammered. I took a knee in front of him. “I play football, too,” he finished, a smile spreading on his face as he tugged at his white mesh jersey. I asked, and he said he played safety. We broke into a game of catch, until Marie’s match resumed.

I turned on a throw-in early in the half to see Grace sitting with Alex on the turf, tossing a soccer ball back and forth. She waved.

Loving kindness. Not tolerance; something grander. I tolerate cauliflower and Adele songs. I adore warm tortillas and Nora Jones. It’s removing the stigma of Us vs Them that reveals so much common ground we fight so hard to ignore in the name of being right.

It’s 2:39, and I should be rounding out halftime of a good night’s sleep.

Here I am. Unable to rest if I let another day go by when blogging stays in my head and heart. Not now, not with much at stake. I won’t bridge the gaps, turn sentiment of those who hate my team’s hat or the stance they presume I take on any issue.

sister-bliss

Of the most common truths

I still have sleep to catch, better to do. It happens in the halo in which I live. It comes from within me, and for you too. Not of superior intellect or emotion; of common truths, of a connectedness to everything around me despite urges on all sides to divide and categorize.

Win or lose, agree or disagree, even after the heartbreakingest matches, there are walks down to the farm and sisters arm in arm as they provoke pigs and count chickens and playfully attempt to bring each other down on the dirt path they walk.

There’ll be dinners on a porch and care packages and road trips and sad goodbyes but happy times before. For us, and for those who know us.

Left or right, home team or visitor, whether you lash out or reach out, whether you tailgate me or talk to me, on the road or on the sideline or on my blog, we exist in a greater whole that can melt into a greater consciousness, if we’ll only allow it.

There’ll be room for elephants, too. In time.

puzzle-quote

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22 thoughts on “The Challenge of Blogging Now (Even When You Don’t Blog)”

  1. The world is a crazy place (we’re currently on the look out for “scary clowns” who are threatening to cause havoc so our kids aren’t allowed outside at school. I’m glad there is this piece of kindness fitting itself into the universe.

    1. Grace warns me of the clowns when I play disc golf, Eric. If I run across one – I’ll first ask if he’d like to join before I break his arm. That’s kind, right?

  2. What do you mean you only *tolerate* Adele???!!!

    Just teasing. There is a great deal of wisdom here. The first words that jumped out at me were, “…short on midnight oil. One can’t burn what one doesn’t have. Off to sleep. The writing mind kept sentinel, though, when my waking mind could not.” That is some beautiful prose, and it is so true. Sometimes, I would love to be able to turn off the flood of thoughts that rush into my mind like a forceful current, streaming words that demand to be put down on any piece of paper I can find, and always at the most inopportune times. Then, there are those times when I am sitting in front of a blank page or a blinking cursor, and the ideas just won’t come. Or, even more frustrating, I am bursting with… something… indescribable… I’m brimming with emotion and half-formed, vague concepts, but the language itself escapes me.

    “I still have sleep to catch, better to do.” Those could be my words on any given night. I’m sure, it could be any of us, but I definitely feel the need to do better. Thank you for this magnificent post. Wishing you, your family, your city, and our world well.

    1. I am just not a big fan of Adele! For me, “Running in the Deep” was her best work and the rest has fallen short. That said …

      Thank you for the compliment on my words. I have so little time to write of late; but what comes out, seems to do so more deliberately. Does that make sense?

      I’m fortunate in that I rarely, unless my heart’s been karate-kicked, find myself at a loss of words. I just don’t have the time to commit them to keyboard.

      Here’s hoping I find the time, and you find the means, and we all get a bit more sleep and do a bit better in every tomorrow, Lu.

  3. Loving kindness vs mere tolerance. Wow! You have a gift for planting the seed of a thought, beautifully placed in the midst of everyday stories, perfectly illustrated in an Adele vs Nora kind of way and able to, in its simplicity, show us the path to a greater good. Sharing now.

    1. I made the mistake of watching the news tonight, just for a moment. Which story did this matters little, but I found myself feeling the same pangs of helplessness and despair for the human condition I’d just run from.

      Your kind words humble me. Thank you for sharing, too, Mo. Above all, be kind. Imagine what a world that felt that way could be.

  4. I’m playing catch up and this has put smile on my face! I love my Saturdays for this reason alone, I can always find peace in the blogs I read. Thank you Eli, such a wonderful post!

    1. I am trying to get to a place where I can think about possibly maybe starting to one day play catch up.

      I’m honored this joint is one of your stops, Tiff. Thanks for reading.

  5. I am sure many would laugh in my face, but I will say to my dying breath that this little hobby called Blogging is what has truly shown me how very, very connected we all are. I don’t just peek into the window of your world – far behind what you choose to show, are the words you choose to use. That’s the difference between “seeing” and Hearing. We all have our dark spaces and those words you release, I call them your tiny rays of light, are the illumination of your soul. We all need to take the time to see our little rays of light.

    1. No laughing in faces around here, Rore. I haven’t written in a few weeks, and it’s an unmistakable void.

      It’s amazing to me you can see the words. Sometimes, I wonder if anyone truly gets them, more than their function in sentences, sentences in stories, because they reveal us like nothing else can.

      This might be my most favorite comment ever because it spells out the truth so plainly. Thank you for seeing me.

  6. Dear Eli,
    I’m sorry to have been away for so long. When I came back this morning, this title jumped out at me and I’m sure it was no accident. What a beautiful story about the larger lesson athletics teach – the joy and grace of reaching across the lines and letting the magic happen. This was absolutely beautiful. Thank you. xo

    1. Dear Michelle,

      I’d rather celebrate your return than to fret over your time away. Welcome back. I trust that even when fingers aren’t to keyboard and ‘published’ isn’t pushed, you’re still engulfed in the process, too.

      So glad you liked this one! Now, if I could only get some time to write more …

  7. Amazing post! I love the lessons you are teaching your girls, even if you don’t realize it. You are teaching them good sportsmanship, and you are teaching them that even when things get rough, persistence pays off. Both very important lessons in any child’s life. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Cassie. These hardly feel like lessons taught, because I’m learning along with them.

      I know I don’t keep a cool head when things get hectic, but I hope they notice the times I do!

      It’s easy to handle things when they go our way. What’ll we do when they don’t? That goes a long way in determining our character.

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