He stayed in his spot. At least as he knew it to be. He looked down the court one way then turned and looked the other from the round circle of lines in the middle where he stood. Big clumps of children who mostly seemed bigger than he was raced up and down the court chasing a soccer ball towards a net. But he just stood still and watched or walked around the circular lines.
Parents cheered, “C’mon buddy! You can do it! RUN! RUN! Run after the ball with your team!” But there he stood. Turning toward the four grandparents and his mom and dad. Smiling and waving. His shirt hung down past his knobby little knees. His knee socks and special tennis shoes were exactly standard. He looked just like everyone else.
His father ran to the middle during a time out. You could see the big smile on the little boys face. His father gave a few pointers, patted his head and high fived him, and the little son nodded and beamed in his father’s presence.
Time to start again. But there he stood. In the circle. We grandparents waved and cheered and yelled that he was a star player in our eyes. We said “Run buddy run! Run your fastest!” This time the boy looked back at his family and smiled and lifted his arms in pride. Basically, he believed we were all so proud (which we were) and he was proud of himself.
After the game, people were rolling up bleachers and the kids were eating the snacks the designated mom had brought. The contented little boy sat alone on the floor. I got down on the floor across from him and smoothed his hair. I thought to myself what a beautiful little boy he was. I said, “ Wow!!! What a game you played. I bet next week you’ll run back and forth and kick that ball like super man!” He looked straight into my eyes. Totally unaffected by my pressured suggestion,and shook his head with a very hard “no.” Hmmmm. He has a reason.
So catching on I said, “ Well, are you afraid to run with the rest of the kids? Are you afraid you might get hurt?”
“No,” he quietly said with a mouth full of fish crackers, balancing his juice packet between his knees. “Hmmmmmm, I said. Did you have a reason for standing right in the circle?” He nodded and took a hard swallow of the fish crackers. “ Because that was my spot. I had to stay in my spot.” He smiled at me and raised his voice and said with so much pride….” And I did it!”
Wow. I had surely missed it.Yet I couldn’t get the innocent joy out of my mind all day. Sometimes in life we’ve all gotten a bit confused now and then. Often people watch us and think to themselves that we are just out of it. That we don’t play the game well.That we are defined by our ability to keep up. They want us to perform better so they can like us.
Yet our Father, the one in our Heavenly family, knows what we’ re doing and what it’s most “like” us to do. While many in the world watch us and judge us as a failure, He cheers. Sometimes we even have a few life giving people cheering with Him because they think and act as He does. He knows that the “clump” of the people in this running world is chasing after meaningless things for meaningless reasons. He knows we’ve missed the ball, the point, the talent, the rules,the promotion. Well, we’ve somehow missed the world’s expectations. But, we haven’t missed His. He knows that we’re doing the best we can and that we are right in the “wrong” place we are supposed to be. At least according to the “clumps.” The world doesn’t understand and sometimes “our spot” is a pretty tough place to stand.
Stand in your spot. Look misunderstood and like you are a little crazy. Keep looking to the sidelines for the few but other cheering “spot standers.” A beautiful thing will happen. Your Heavenly Father will walk tall and broad and strong right into your spot. He will be smiling and instructing and high-giving and patting you on the head telling you,”Great job my child! I’m so proud of you.”