Further down the path I begin to ascend walking upon exposed roots. These roots provide almost perfectly spaced stairs allowing my feet to find secure footing as I inch my way up the hill. This is new territory and I am unsure what I may find at the summit. This is definitely different terrain.
I've almost reached the end of this path, but notice a yellow item off to the left. My eyes are drawn to this object. This misplaced item. My curiousity gets the best of me and I make my way off the path to explore. As I reach down to move the leaves and debris I discover it is a girl's lacrosse ball. Why is it here? How did it get here?
I continue up the path still wondering about this lost ball. As I come to the opening at the top of the hill, peeking out from the cover of the trees and path, I realized this ball is evidence of a missed goal attempt. Just to the left of the opening and up a few more yards is a girl's lacrosse field.
How odd? I have just finished a season of being an assistant coach for our high school girl's lacrosse team. For any of you who have either played, watched or coached a sport -- it seems all those missed shots, missed goals, missed tackles, all speak to the deficit of a player or team. Those times a team doesn't score, when a team can't defend well... those mishaps and mistakes lead to disappointment that we would rather forget.
Life has a way of creating the path that lies before us. I am learning that I don't control the elevation changes of the path I must follow or the kind of footing I will have to endure. I am also learning that life, just like lacrosse and any other sport is filled with mishaps, mistakes, and disappointments.
But today, I am especially struck by the idea that what is required of me (and us) is to LIVE the life we have and to PLAY the game that we are in to the best of our ability. To offer all of ourselves to what we encounter and experience. AND to trust that those missed shots, difficult situations and disappointments will be used in someway down the path.
This missed shot likely happened 3 - 6 months before my walk. This ball had been lost and likely forgotton by the team, probably even replaced by now. It had been passed by many who had walked this same trail. But this day, for this moment... in some way for me was a reminder that nothing is lost or forgotten. That everything in our journey has purpose and value, somewhere, somehow, for someone.