Matt had escaped once again. Three-year-old on the soccer field! Out into the middle of the game he darted. Dodging the bevy of eight-year-old superstars, his big sister among them, he made a beeline for his daddy, the coach. I left my lawn chair behind and made my way across to the field to fetch Matthew and save the game from sudden destruction. My son gave me the nod. “It’s OK. I’ve got him!” With one giant swoop Matthew was sitting on his daddy’s shoulders smiling like he’d just won the gold cup. The game preceded with father and son carrying out all coaching duties together. As the game came to an end Matthew followed right behind his daddy giving high fives to the opposing line-up of little soccer stars. My son took his whistle and put it around Matt’s neck. It came right down to his knobby little knees. I sat in my lawn chair watching the two of them and thinking, There is something bigger going on here than simply a dad being patient with his three-year-old at a soccer game. Matthew is in training, and I think he knows it. It won’t be long before he joins the team.
When Matt was four his sister Sammy was baptized and confirmed. As the priesthood holders proceeded to the circle I took paper and pen from my purse and got ready to record the blessing. All eyes were closed but mine as her daddy began to pronounce her a member of the Church. That’s how I happened to notice my grandson, the one in training, inch his way to the front of the room, squeeze his little pint-sized body between two uncles in the circle, and reach his little hand out to try and touch his sister’s head. I sat in my padded church chair watching him and thinking, There is something bigger going on here than simply a little boy not wanting to sit still any longer. Matthew is in training, and I think he knows it. Matthew wants to be on the team.
Matthew has now grown to be quite the scrapper on the soccer field. He’s official! He doesn’t spend the game on his daddy’s shoulders anymore. He runs his little heart out and keeps an ear turned for instructions from the sidelines. Matthew is on the team, and he knows it!
Yesterday eight-year-old Matthew, all dressed in white, went down into the water and was baptized. As his daddy raised him up out of the water Matthew looked up at him and said, “That was awesome!” Matthew is on the team, and I think feels it.
One Monday night for family home evening Matt’s mom and dad told him and his sister Sammy and his baby brother Christopher the story of Lehi’s vision of the “strait” and narrow path. At the end of the lesson, with new understanding in his voice, Matthew said, “I know—I’m going to follow Father and Christopher is going to follow me.”
Yesterday I watched and took notes while Matt took his once-in-a-lifetime turn to sit in the special chair. Surrounded by holders of the priesthood, he was confirmed a member of the Church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. If anyone chanced to open their eyes and take a peek,they just might have noticed little Christopher pulling himself free from his mother’s arms, and joining the circle by taking a seat on his daddy’s Sunday shoes. There he quietly planted himself so he could look straight up and observe what was happening to his big brother. Once again I thought, There is something bigger going on here than simply a little boy wanting some independence. Christopher is in training, and I think he knows it. Christopher wants to be on the team. Matt is following Father and Christopher is following Matt.
And so it goes. We are all in training, and at the same time we are all on the team—His team. There are often times when I run out onto the Lord’s playing field with great gusto thinking I’m quite ready to take the ball and run it down the line. I can see Him give our Father the nod. “It’s OK. I’ve got her!” And with that I feel His powerful hands swoop me up and swing me onto His shoulders where I can watch and learn. Then there are the times when He sets me down on the playing field, slaps a number on my back, tosses me the ball and says, “Nannette, you’re in.” Most terrifying are the seasons when He trusts me with an actual whistle that does seem to hit me at the knees (a good reminder of where I need to go for any and all coaching advice)—Me Lord? Are you sure about this?
One day as I was reading the New Testament I came to the story of a man who asked this same question of Jesus. Matthew writes that the Lord came to John “to be baptized of him.” John was overwhelmed by the thought. “John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” This was Jesus’s reply to John: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:13-15).It becometh us? Do you mean it Lord? Us? You and John and me? I believe that with these simple words the Lord invites us, all of us, to be on His team.
Knowing this makes me want to be brave and run out into His field, that field that is white and ready to harvest. I want to run up to Him and say, “Hey Coach, put me where You need me. I’ll sit on the sidelines and cheer. I’ll sit on Your shoulders and learn. If you put me in the game, I’ll give it my all. I’ll run my little heart out for Your team, Lord. And if You want, and if You will stand right next to me the whole time, I’ll even wear a whistle for a while. There is something bigger going on here, isn’t there Lord, and I think we know it. We are truly on Your team, and that is remarkable!”
To read other posts by Nannette go to Twelve Step Reflections.