Tuesday, July 5, 2011


During the last Men's World Cup, the Irish pub near my house promised to show every game live.  But since the games took place during the work day, they also recorded each game to re-play them in the evening.  Isn't that nice of them?  I thought so.

One evening (I believe it was a Sunday), I decided to head over to watch the replay of the Germany game.  I was greeted by a mostly empty restaurant, except for some extremely excited basketball fans who were gathered in the bar area. 

I got the head bartender's attention and asked if he could put the Germany game on on the TVs in the far side of the room.  He quickly agreed.  And as he was getting me set up with game-time fare (The Sunday night special was peel-and-eat shrimp. Yum!), we shared this brief conversation:

"Do you know the score?"
"Cool.  I'll just let you enjoy it. It's a great game"

That was that.  I settled in and enjoyed the game.  Every once in a while the bartender would walk by.  He would chat about the tournament or comment about an exciting play.  He even skipped over the halftime break, giving me 90 minutes of straight soccer.  But he never gave anything away.  He let me enjoy everything as it happened.  It was divine.

Interesting side note:  I didn't watch the whole game by myself.  The soccer game acted like a magnet, drawing all the Europeans in Annapolis to my little section of the pub.  Several accents were represented, and it was quite a fun phenomenon to behold.

There's nothing like watching a live game.  The drama.  The suspense.  The conflict.  The triumph (or defeat).  They're so much more poignant because each moment is history being made.

In a way, I'm are like a DVR -- replaying the hope I've found and the story I've lived. But sometimes I get ahead of myself and give away the ending.

Or other times, when I meet people who are on a faith journey, I feel like someone who's already seen the game (because I've been loving and walking with Jesus for a long time).  So I want to tie all the bows, connect all the dots, and share the highlights before they've had a chance to see them.

But giving away the ending robs them the joy of the journey.  I could compare also it to taking away the wonder of a child's revelation.  "Did you know in the Southern Hemisphere Summer and Winter are switched?"  Bad answer:  "Ummm...yeah."  Good answer:  "Wow, that's pretty cool!" 

The best thing I can do is just let things unfold in the proper time.

Peter said, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15).  I want to take his charge seriously, but I think I could take a lesson from my bartender. 

Clean off a table.  Be ready to talk about the tournament, to share the excitement of a good play, or the outrage of a bad one.  But don't give anything away.  I don't need to over explain. I don't need to tie all the bows. 

I just have to live my story.  To let it play and allow people to experience everything (my story and theirs), in its fullness, it as it happens.

"Do you know the score?"
"Cool.  I'll just let you enjoy it.  It's a great game."

May I have the same wisdom.

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