It Really Was A Bittersweet Night

Last night I experienced the bittersweet feeling of winning and losing at the same game.

My wife, Lily, and I have a weekly standing date of attending the OHL Kingston Frontenacs’ home games.

Friday, as usual, we shared some popcorn and watched the action on the ice.

But it was a little different because, while our boys were playing in Kingston, the Canadian Junior hockey team was playing in Buffalo for a gold medal in the annual World Juniors tournament.

We got to see some great hockey in front of us, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how our national team was doing.

Part way through the game it was announced over the PA system that Canada was up 1-0.

That was some comfort, but the battle on the ice in front of us was intense.

Our boys were really playing well and dominating in many respects, but it was just a one goal game at the end of the first period.

In the second period, our guys were flying and scored two goals to put our team ahead 3-1 by the end of the period.

Back in the gold medal game, there was no more news … but when your team is ahead, no news is also good news.

Team Sweden was considered the team to beat. They had run the table in the regular round; in fact, they hadn’t lost in the regular round in 11 years.

Team Canada had one shootout loss to the United States in a snowy, outdoor affair that left all the Canadian fans chilled.

Now we were battling for the gold medal and we were ahead in the scoring.

Lily and I took a stroll around the arena at the end of the second period of the Frontenacs’ game. There was a calm, happy, “we have this game in the bag” kind of feeling in the air.

There was no hint of any trouble ahead until the start of the third period. The Fronts seemed a little flat – no energy, not skating well … and in the span of about five minutes, the Spitfires scored three goals and were up 4-3.

It happened so quickly; it was a shocker.

The rest of the period our boys threw a lot of rubber towards the Windsor net, but we couldn’t buy a goal and lost the match.

Just a five minute let down was all it took.

After the bitter loss we witnessed on ice, the arena switched to the World Junior game on the big screen.

We watched until the end of the second period where, with five minutes left, Sweden scored to tie it up.

All I could think was, “not another let down!”

Since I’m the Fronts’ team chaplain, we then left the stands to go chat with our boys. By the time we were done, there was just ten minutes left in the gold medal game so we headed back into the stands to watch.

With just under two minutes to play, Team Canada scored.

There was a celebration, not on the ice but on the big screen. We pocketed an empty-netter to seal the deal, and Canada won the gold medal.

At the same arena we watched our hometown team lose and then our Canadian team win gold. It was truly a bittersweet night. But it ended with the sweet!

Here’s the thing: There is a verse in the Bible that says you can win the whole world but forfeit your soul. That’s life’s bittersweet reality. Make sure your soul is secure so that in the end, when life is all over, you experience the sweet of Heaven.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What would be bittersweet for you? Leave your comments below.

Her Emotions Got The Best Of Her

Often it is our emotions that dictate our actions and reactions.

This morning I came back from early morning hockey to find the lights on in the living room.

Normally, on a Saturday morning after hockey, things are the same as when I left at 6:30 a.m. – dark and nothing stirring.

But this morning there was activity. There was a vacuum humming in the background and I wondered what was going on.

There were a couple of possibilities: Lily had a lot happening and she needed to get a good jump on the day, or we had a guy coming in to do the backsplash in our kitchen.

I knew that it was a guy who was going to be doing the work and his work would focus only in the kitchen, but that didn’t matter; the whole house needed to be clean before he arrived.

… Turns out that neither one of those reasons was correct.

Lily had the vacuum out because there was a trail of ants in our living room and there was no way they were going to survive on her watch.

She was so busy vacuuming the little critters up that she couldn’t tell where they were coming from or going to. But she didn’t stop talking to them … in a rather loud voice, I might add.

That Dyson vacuum really swirled those ants up. They either got a great ride out of the deal or it was like they were swooped up and taken from Kansas to the world of Oz … only there was no yellow brick road, just a garbage can at the end of their ride.

The ants kept coming though. Lily was so preoccupied with killing them that she wasn’t doing anything about dealing with the reason they were coming in or how to keep them out.

Finally I decided to remove a large poinsettia plant from the living room that may have been their destination. And Lily got some spray we had in the garage to attack them.

We wiped up around the plant and made sure that the area was clean. Then we sprayed the place where the ants were coming in, as well as the outside of the house.

You would think that after that we could get back to the regular activities of the day and let the spray do its thing, but no! Lily wanted to make sure the stuff was working so she stuck around and watched the ants curl up and die.

… It kind of amazes me that she is perfectly fine seeing that kind of a massacre but when I put on a shoot’em up, blow’em up movie, she can’t take it.

At least in my movies no one really dies; it’s all made up stunts.

When it comes to ants in her house, there is no way she’s taking prisoners alive!

As far as the ants were concerned it was a real-life horror and they were the main characters.

I think watching the hockey game tonight, no matter how rough it gets, will be tame compared to this morning’s events.

Here’s the thing:  When something grabs our emotions, we can’t let it go. I wonder if many Christians have an intellectual relationship with Christ but it has yet to get to their emotions. Faith in Christ is more than giving assent to a belief; it involves being emotionally engaged in what you believe.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What grabs you emotionally about Christ Jesus? Leave your comments below.

Strong Beliefs Bring Out Strong Emotions

Whatever we believe strongly in creates waves. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or sports or religion, topics like these bring out emotion in people.

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I just have to say, “I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan”, and that will elicit feelings in some people. Right now, some are considering making this the last sentence they read!

… They may not have even finished the sentence … emotions are so strong, they could stop people in mid-sentence.

In my office I have paraphernalia from the Toronto Blue Jays and the Leafs hanging on one wall, and I get two very different reactions. The general consensus is the Toronto Blue Jays are okay; we are all on the same band wagon. But not so much with the Leafs.

Strong support for something brings out a reaction in us that we can’t back down from, that causes us to raise our voice or take a stand.

The most easygoing person turns into a stubborn, obnoxious, hammerhead when he is pricked by something he strongly believes in.

It’s just how we are; it’s in our nature. We can try to control ourselves when our emotions have been summoned to attention, but for the most part, they are sent into battle before we can call them back.

This week we elected a new government … Emotions get pretty high when you start talking about political parties and leaders.

In the heat of this political battle, there were many emotion-raising statements made by all the parties. But there have been a few that crossed over to another strong belief in some people; yet these comments didn’t elicit the kind of emotion from people that you might think.

Justin Trudeau stated that Christians need not apply for leadership in the Liberal party, and Mulcair has said that Christians are anti-Canadian.

Some of you are thinking these statements are not that bad; they are not the emotion-seeking missiles that other comments are, that they are really nothing more than duds.

But let’s just change one word in each statement: What if Trudeau said LGBT’s need not apply for leadership in the Liberal party, and what if Mulcair said LGBT’s are anti-Canadian?

Those statements would start a war! There would be accusations of homophobia, hatred, and legal action would be set into motion.

Emotions would storm these parties and would create such a tidal wave of negativity that retractions would be made and positive concessions would have to be promised. The focus on the election would have turned squarely onto these statements.

These statements made about Christians, though being hate language and Christian-phobic in nature, passed by without the firestorm that should have accompanied them.

Maybe everyone knew these were just barbs thrown out in the heat of an election. Maybe the authors of the statements don’t really believe what they said.

OR maybe there is little or no voice in Canada that would raise enough emotion to call out discrimination when it shows itself. Have Christians become like gays in the 50’s and 60’s, where they could be abused and no one cared or did anything about it?

Here’s the thing: It’s okay to become emotional about faith. It’s not different than the emotion that rises when we talk about our sports teams or our political party. Christians must voice their emotion, and not become complacent. Don’t throw up your hands; take a stand for what you believe.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: How do you feel about the comments made by these two political leaders? Leave your comment below.

Our Expressions Don’t Lie

Our expressions reveal our emotions and, without a mirror in front of us to monitor our expressions, sometimes our emotions leak out for others to see.

Richard Sherman expressions.001Mind you, some people are better at keeping their expressions in check that others. We call those people “tough to read”; it’s difficult to know what they are feeling or thinking.

I’m not that particularly difficult to read apparently, at least according to my wife. I can sit down with a plate of food in front of me and within a millisecond she knows what I think of dinner.

I don’t have to poke the meat with my finger or even pick up a fork – the look on my face tells her everything (eww, it’s stew).

I would probably make a pretty lousy poker player; everyone would know if my hand was good or bad.

I’ve even seen professional poker players on TV hide their expressions with sunglasses or hats shielding their faces.

The other day watching the Super Bowl, there were some pretty good emotions. Camera men are particularly good at zeroing in on faces when something in the game goes bad or good.

Early into the second half, after Seattle had scored to take the lead for the first time in the game, the look on the Seahawks’ coach’s face was, “I think we have this game”. He looked pretty confident.

His face didn’t show the same easy smile later in the game, however, when in the last 3 minutes the momentum of the game was moving up and down like a roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland.

When New England scored and there was still three minutes left in the game, the Patriots’ quarterback sat on the bench and couldn’t look up. There was too much on the line.

Seattle started moving the ball. Then a long pass, that at first looked incomplete, turned out to be a reception as the receiver bobbled the ball a few times and grabbed it while falling on his back on the 5 yard line.

Wow, the looks on both benches was telling. Only a minute to go in the game, Tom Brady (New England’s QB) had a look of, “No way! You’ve got to be joking!”

… One play later, the ball is on the one yard line. It is a guaranteed touchdown for Seattle. The game is over; there is no hope for New England. But Seattle decides to pass the ball and throws an interception.

The emotions go wild again. Brady is now jumping up and down on the sideline with his hands raised. The coach raises his arm in the air signalling victory.

Over on the Seattle sideline the emotions are prolific. One player will have his mug in the news for days as his facial expressions went from joy to sheer horror in a matter of seconds.

… The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Here’s the thing: As poor a job as we do hiding our emotions for others to see, it is impossible to hide our emotions from God. He sees everything; He knows our emotionally-charged roller coaster life. So instead of dropping the visor of your hat to cover your expressions when you pray, simply tell Him what you are feeling and thinking. He wants to hear, and He can help.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: When do you have a hard time keeping your expressions in check? Leave your comment blow.