Thursday, December 28, 2017

In All Things, Finding God

A fellow teacher and coach posted a holiday goal to guide our beloved two-week Christmas break: read three books. They say when you change an ingredient in a recipe, it becomes your own, right? With that philosophy in mind, her S.M.A.R.T. goal became mine when I decided I wanted to read three books, two of which I have already started. My nightstand is filled with these perpetraitors...each one has a bookmark ten, twenty or a hundred pages in. If convicted of starting and not finishing books, I'm guilty. However, I'm happy to report progress toward attaining my goal is underway. #FeelsGood
  1. "The Mistletoe Inn" by Richard Paul Evans was a fun and fast read. The fact that this book was made into a Hallmark Channel holiday film, was no surprise whatsoever. Love it. Furthermore, I was reminded that there's no harm in reading for pleasure. Starting and FINISHING a Christmas romance has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. Enjoy! 
  2. I started Richard Ben Kramer's decisive and exhaustive biography on Joe DiMaggio: "The Hero's Life"  ten years ago. No, I'm not joking. The Yankee Clipper was raised in San Francisco and lived a storied life in New York. His love and affection for Marilyn Monroe characterize a good percentage of the book's 525 pages.
  3. This summer while traveling in Israel, I began to read Chaim Potok's "The Chosen." Set in Brooklyn in 1944, "The Chosen" is a story—a coming of age and of friendship—between two young Jews. One is from a conservative family and the other's is more liberal, or by today's standards, Reform. 
Their views on faith, tradition, and family also reveal the spirituality of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Ba'al Shem Tov, who gave birth to Hasidism.  
He taught them that the purpose of man is to make his life holy—every aspect of his life: eating, drinking, praying, sleeping. God is everywhere, he told them, and if it seems at times that He is hidden from us, it is only because we have not yet learned to seek Him correctly.
This spirituality resonates with Ignatian Spirituality. Ignatius of Loyola preached of "Finding God in all things." This principle underscores the curriculum for Sports and Spirituality. 

We believe God can be found in all things, the question is in all things can we find God? As a coach and a teacher, I wonder—Have I equipped my students and my athletes with the eyes to see? Do I point the way? Surely if they seek, they will find.

My seniors' final project, asks my students this very question. Here are their answers. Their images of where they have found God in the sports that they play. Now that I have graded all of their work, I hope to get back to reading....
“I feel the presence of God with and through the presence of my teammates.”
-Natalie Doyle, “Finding God on the Volleyball Court

“The displays of love in sports, by athletes, coaches, parents, and even spectators speak of yet another spiritual dimension present in athletics and thus challenges those who experience love-which is to say Christ-to act in certain ways correlative to proper morality.”
—Anthony M.J. Maranise, OSB

Awards become corroded. Friends gather no dust.
—Jim Yergovich

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
 —Hebrews 12:11-12

Faith isn’t something we do, it is who we are.
—Dr. Lucy Russell

“Athletes exercise self-control in every way;
they do so in order to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.”
1 Cor 9:24-25

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