One Sunday, I was watching football with my boyfriend and his sons. We were watching on something called the Red Zone Channel. In football, the red zone is the area within 20 yards of a team’s end zone, so when a team is in the red zone, there is a higher probability that they will score. When you watch this Red Zone Channel, you get only this part of all the games that are occurring at one time. So you just switch between these bits of the various games, hoping to see only the scoring portion of each game.
I don’t enjoy watching football in this manner. Sure, you get to see a few highlights of each game. But you don’t get involved in the game itself. You don’t see the character of the two teams, and how they interact with one another; you don’t watch the game develop; you miss the immense effort that it takes to get to the red zone. You just see the flashy part of the game.
As I pondered this idea, I started thinking about how this could be applied to real life. Sometimes, we want to live the Red Zone Life. We just want to get to the fun or exciting parts—the touchdowns and field goals. But we forget that in between the fun and exciting bits, there is a lot of work to do.
We have to see the characters of those in our lives and find out how to best interact with one another. We need to learn who we can trust to put the effort into making the catch, who on our offensive line has our safety as a priority, and who will drop the ball just when we need them the most. In these lessons, we learn how to interact with those on our team who try our patience, who we can relax a bit with and share the load, and who we need to cut from the team.
We have to develop ourselves. This is where we look at what plays we are calling in our lives, and how we carry out the game plan. Are we taking time to meditate, go to church, or whatever we do that helps us to examine our feelings and motives, to learn how to play this game of life? Do we resort to horsecollaring in order to bring others down, or to unsportsmanlike conduct when calls don’t go our way? Or are we developing into players with integrity, love, and honor?
We have to get through the parts that take immense effort. This is the work of life—creating a career, a home, a family, a future for ourselves. We have to learn how to be strong and confident to do the work of life. We have to learn how to gut it out and make the first downs. We learn how strong we can be in adverse situations, how to keep going when we’ve been on the field too long and all we want to do is take a timeout. This part of life is training for a marathon, climbing the corporate ladder, having discipline when our will power is weak, or helping a loved one on their journey into the next world. This is the part of life that, while we are in the midst of it, may suck. But it’s the necessary part that helps us understand of what we are capable. And it’s the part that enables the fun and exciting parts to be even more so.
In other words, life is what happens while we are getting to the red zone. That’s where all the things occur that make it possible to score the touchdowns. So join me in relishing the mundaneness of living the WHOLE game—first downs, fumbles, sacks, and jumping offsides—in order to make certain that at the end of the game, we feel like true Super Bowl Champs!
Omaha! Omaha! Omaha!
Tackle the hard stuff, my friends!!