Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Under the Boards
“If you don’t behave,” my Dad said to me sternly but half-jokingly, “We are going to cut your hair short, dress you like a boy, and have you come build houses for me. We’ll call you Lee.”
“Really?” I answered, thinking that would be great fun.
I was eight years old. I wouldn’t have a sibling until I was eleven, so my parents each imparted to me what skills they had, regardless of traditional gender roles. Mom taught me to sew; Dad taught me to cut wood with an electric saw. Mom taught me to be a lady; Dad taught me to think like a business man.
When I found out my first baby was going to be a girl, I decided she was not going to be a girly-girl. The woman who sold me a gallon of blue paint looked at my third-trimester tummy and knowingly commented, “You’re having a boy?”
“No, a girl. I like blue,” I said, defiantly.
Almost thirteen years later, I sat today watching my lovely young lady at the basketball awards party. She is two inches taller than me and absolutely beautiful. She carries herself with confidence. She is smart and athletic and knows it; yet she is too friendly for anyone to think she is conceited.
The coach introduced his award for Most Improved. “This player never played basketball before, and learned it fast. She took a beating under the boards, especially defending against those Southampton girls…” I knew he was going to say Audrey Miller.
I thought back to those big game moments that might have made a mother tremble with worry, or anger, or both; when she fought as if for her life under the basket to get the ball back to whoever on her team could get it down to the other end; when she was elbowed, scratched, and knocked to the ground, hard; and she retrieved that ball, held onto it as long as necessary, and expertly passed it off.
I was never worried because I knew she could take it; and I was proud of her for taking it; and I knew that every time she did this she would become stronger, both as a player and as a person.
I think of all the times people have told me that God gives us trials to make us stronger, and only gives us what He knows we can handle. Suddenly I realize that I have understood this along; that this is how I have been raising my kids because instinctively I knew this to be true.
James 1:2-4 (NAB) says: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Let us all take those beatings under the boards with strength and grace. The ball is in our court.
Picture above is of the girls' basketball team captains: Audrey is the first on the left.