“he fact is, God loves us even more than we love ourselves. He believes in us even more than we believe in ourselves. He is always “cheering us on”; he is our biggest fan.”

– Pope Francis

Growing up, I didn’t play competitive sports because, well: I wasn’t competitive. I married a woman who yells at me when she is losing at Go Fish. It’s perhaps not surprising then, that her genes won out in our children. Now that spring has sprung, I find myself, like many other parents, with weekends full of various sporting events. With two of our four children on three teams, the logistical math already doesn’t work. Throw in one parent traveling frequently and the equation becomes impossible without grandparents and good friends. Recently, when my wife was away for work, the angels sent me a pass and scheduled the lacrosse game and the track meet at the same local high school during the same timeframe. As I walked for several hours between practice and sprints, half-time and half miles, handing snacks and Gatorade to the children watching or playing, I felt like I was in a never-ending relay. A very nice mom offered to take some of the kids for a play date as I waited for my oldest to run her last event in the never-ending track meet.

As I stood at the fence and watched heat after heat of children that were not my own running the track, I made a mental list of all the things I should have and could have been doing for work or at home. My list was interrupted by the conversation of two gentlemen next to me who did not know each other but knew a lot about track. I overheard them talk about student athletes who were not their own, from schools they were not affiliated with, and I thought to myself, “Who cares? Why do you know this? What a waste of time!” As their conversation continued about their children’s track future, one of the gentleman’s comments caught my attention. “My grandson won’t be good enough to run in college. I know that. But it’s a big deal to him now, so it’s a big deal to me now.”

As I looked over and saw my daughter laughing with her teammates as they waited for their next event, I realized I had missed the baton on this one. In trying to get through the weekend so I could get back to what was “important” to me, I was missing what was actually most important to me. In life and leadership, how often do I show up, but not understand or engage in what’s important to those who are important to me? With so many competing priorities, how do I not only make space in my schedule, but space in my mind and heart for that which others may be pouring into with their whole hearts, even when I am not participating directly? The Lord’s priorities are far greater than mine, and yet I’m reminded He knows every hair on my head. My fears, my hurts, my concerns, however small, are still His.

Nearly four hours after I first parked the car, my daughter ran a great race and gave me a big hug. Being idle for hours was worth more to her than me doing anything on my list. As we seek to be people of action for the Gospel, let’s not forget that sometimes standing still, watching others strive, and cheering them on might be the most important contribution we make.

by Daniel Cellucci

May 13, 2024

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