March Madness…for many, these words bring the joy of raving fans, squeaking shoes, three-pointers and an endless flurry of foul shots. Basketball fans young and old gather around their flatscreens to watch the games, yell at their screens and root for their favorite teams. The games took on a new meaning at our house this year because my 6th grade daughter just finished her first season on her middle school basketball team. Already 5’8 inches tall, she was “shoo in” for the team.
Watching a brand new basketball team learn the game was exciting, intereseting and, at times, frustrating. The girls steadily improved their skills for each game, but they could not seem to translate their play into a win. At first, they were disappointed, encouraged by the coach that “their time would come.” But as the season stretched on and the team still had not won a game, the disappointment turned to tears and anger. The girls could not figure out what they should do differently to acheive that “all important” win. It was now a quest for the team. When the night of the last game of the season arrived, the team was determined to win, but feeling a bit hopeless as well. The girls played well, and the game was really close, but in the end, the team did not get their win. Their pursuit had eluded them and they were beyond consolation.
No one wants to have a losing season…in basketball or in life. Sometimes we all have “seasons” in our lives when we feel like we just can’t win- we can’t figure out what to do differently. Watching my daughter’s team struggle through their losing season reminded me of our struggle with grief. We go through the motions each day, we wait to feel better, or to feel anything at all…and we just can’t “win.” Funny thing is…the solution for the basketball team is the same for our grief. The answer is…time. Time to leave the sting of our losses behind, time to “relearn” how do the simple things we used to love, time to get better, time to feel joy again. The way to “win” is to give it time. The coach was right, “your time will come.”