In the penultimate episode of Season 3 of Ted Lasso, during a tender scene between a mother and her adult son (also a parent), Dottie Lasso offers up this bit of wisdom: “You know… that is the thing about being a parent. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win, but most of the time you just tie. All we can do is keep playing.”
I teared up during this interaction, not only because of the beautiful connection and healing happening within the scene, but because I resonated with this seasoned mother’s words. I’m less than a decade into my own parenting journey, but already I’ve tallied up more than a few wins and losses, and I have to say that thus far it really does seem to be a wash. And yet I feel compelled to keep playing.
The metaphor extends beyond parenting and into almost all of life. There are seasons of perpetual wins (or so I’ve heard), and we have all had seasons when we wonder if we’ll ever win again. Mostly, we’re tied up and we just keep trucking along, just keep playing. Without a reason to play, though, we may be tempted to give up. And without a coach to lead and guide us in our play, we might as well hang up our cleats. (Please forgive all these sports metaphors that may or may not fit; I’m not an athlete or a spectator, just a girl who loves a good analogy, even ones I may not fully understand.)
Too many are playing at this game of life without a game plan. That inner need to be part of something valuable, to have an ultimate destination or purpose, can temporarily be filled with fleeting endeavors—some commendable (family life, social justice, education), others less so (addiction, workaholism, sports, endless self-improvement). These pursuits will offer something to work towards and provide a sense of meaning for a time. But the satisfaction that comes from these earthly games will come to an end. Ultimately it is only through entering into God’s Big Game, stepping into His purposes of doing His work and glorifying Him, that we will find the true satisfaction our souls crave.
As Christians, when we are feeling aimless and listless, we can remember those feelings are not truth. The TRUTH is that we do have an aim and a purpose. And the Lord, our Divine Coach, is guiding us in this. Psalm 16 reminds me that the Lord is my guide, and because of His guidance I can rest secure. I don’t need to question why I am here, or what I am doing. I know my value comes from Him, that my path has been laid out. Whether I am winning or losing in parenting or in life, I can know that the outcome rests in His hands. I can rejoice in His good and perfect game plan. I can keep playing because I know why I play, and I know the One who both designed this game and is cheering me in.