(Which totally means that I am starting to think like Michael.)
People I love and deeply care about are facing some emotional highs and lows today. Just like a sporting event, I am a spectator who is invested in the event - I may just have a front row seat instead of a position in the actual game. I know that means those playing the game get the most pain and the most glory. I certainly don't have as much invested, should be as emotional as I am?
First glance at my phone this morning revealed a one-line message that had me crying even before the "Love, friends name". These tears were for the hurt and loss that friend is facing in a situation I once also found myself. Retired from that event, I still have a scar. As I sit on the sideline as a former player, I see my friend in her first few days of recovery after the injury...and I know it doesn't feel this way yet but the healing has begun.
Today we celebrate the births of three very special people - two we will be celebrating with in person and one is far away. These three children are of no blood relation and neither are their parents, yet they are without a doubt members of my extended family. Many of their milestones have been celebrated together. In just a little bit, we will pick up the phone and sing happy birthday to one. Soon after, we will load up in the car to celebrate two others (and eat homemde cake).
I have loved and prayed for these children since their infancy yet not in the role of coach (parent). Way closer than a fan who just watches from the stands while yelling out opinions ...I may be more of a trainer or physical therapist. Not there everyday but still getting some hands-on and face-to-face interaction. I am on the sideline, much closer than the stands, but my role is minimal.
Trying to emotionally prepare for tonight just isn't going to happen.
Someone I love is going far way for a long time. I will miss this person, but that isn't anything new. The difficult part will be the hole this person leaves in my sister's and nephew's life.
My brother-in-law has been home on leave and will return to the other side of the world in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Tonight we will all be together for a few hours. Then my sister and her husband will leave to finish packing and drive to the airport. I will put my nephew to bed and pray over him, knowing how his little heart will be breaking.
In this case, I am an assistant coach. Stepping in to work on specific areas as needed but only under the direction of the coaches. I am hands-on and trusted. I am invested emotionally and physically. I am literally standing there beside them. Yet, it not ultimately my responsibility.
I play the role of coach/GM to others in my life. But today, to these loved ones, I am on the sidelines in a support role.