Life, in Rhythm

One of the things I’ve come to love about my soccer team is that there aren’t a lot of subs. Occasionally that makes for tense moments to know if we even have enough women to play any given week (7 is the minimum). And of course playing with 8 vs. 11 can make things, well, fatiguing.

Now that I’m in a bit better shape (thanks Gretchen and Kathy, my running buds!) I love to play the whole 90 minute game.

There’s a rhythm that comes into it. Sometimes I get a slow start. Then, beating others to the ball. Getting beat and making adjustments to cover that player (we’re old but we’re slow: team motto). Resting when the ball is at the other end. Discerning the moments to accelerate, and those to jog and recover. Amazingly, in this ebb and flow, 90 minutes can go by quickly.

Our coaches’ coach from last week made another keen observation: international players have an advantage over U.S. players – because they grow up playing the entire full-length soccer game.  They have to play through fatigue, and do the hard work of keeping possession.  They learn to rest when the ball is “away”. Meanwhile in the U.S. our youngest players through collegiate level are taught to go full-out, then get subbed, and then come into the game again.

In other words, go full-out – chase that ball as hard as possible – and then get off the field. Repeat.

Don’t it sound like life?

I was feeling particularly burned out this week at work and was feeling the tempting (if fleeting) desire to quit completely. Make it stop. Step out.

Quitting is always a tempting option for me. I tend to overcommit myself, get burned out, quit all my commitments, go quiet for a while, start to feel bored/antsy and start the race all over again.

I’m beginning to realize that this life is more about rhythm than intensity.

Periods during each hour, each day, and each week of intense focus. Periods each hour, day, and week of play. Periods of rest. Periods of quiet waiting. Periods of acceleration and drive. Periods of renewal.

As a woman I often hear the words to seek “balance”, which can feel more defeating than not when it feels like all the things I’m trying to balance are hopelessly in disarray.

I think rhythm is the better word.

To fall into cadence with my day, with my week, with this season of life – and to seek out and note periods of rest, play and intensity into my daily flow. Not work until I drop, and then escape to Tibet for a month. But feel this flow and rhythm now, of rest and work and play in the middle of this. Now.

I often hear people say, including at church, that this life with God is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s true enough. But I’ll add that this life is like a soccer game, and if we can get into the rhythm of it, we’ll enjoy all 90 minutes of it.

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