The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner


Recently my ten-year-old grandson won a dodgeball tournament against all ages. A nineteen-year-old man threw the ball my grandson caught. It was not a pity throw. One thing about dodgeball in our community―we play to win.

This got me thinking about dodgeball. It can be a rough sport. You might get hit hard. You really have to whip the ball at your opponents. However, the game can become plodding and laborious when a timid soul hangs back out of reach, unwilling to get close enough to catch the ball or throw it effectively. The game drags. People get antsy. They want the game over with, and sometimes drift away out of boredom.

The best strategy for dodgeball is to stay close enough to catch the opponent’s ball and get him out. It is an unprotected stance, with arms wide open. The ball gets thrown hard so the target will flinch to protect himself, turning away, rather than catching the ball.

So much of life is like that. Every day the opponent whips the ball at us and we have a choice. We can hang back, away from the game, or protect ourselves by  crossing our arms over our chest and turning just in time to get a good bruise but never win the play.

But hope is open-armed.

Hope knows the final action, can take a chance, and dive into the game with abandon. Hope expects the best and does not anticipate the worst.

I have been asking myself this week, what if I faced the unknown with hopeful expectations? What if I chose to wholeheartedly and with open arms embrace the future? Worry and low expectations do not protect us from disappointment or grief, but they can blind us to the good around us and the good in the midst of the struggle. What do I have to lose by looking forward to what is best? I suspect there is much to gain.

So, I am going to take a lesson from my grandson. I am not going to stand in the back to avoid getting hit. I am going to come forward, advance to the front lines, and open my arms wide to catch the ball.

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