The other night I sat watching the Cleveland Cavaliers playing the Washington Wizards.
With twelve seconds left the Wizards went ahead 118 to 117 after making a free throw.
Maybe you don’t care about sports – but this is relevant.
LeBron James takes the ball the entire length of the court. I’m thinking “slow it down; you’ll give them the ball with too much time left.”
LeBron doesn’t listen to me.
He never listens to me.
He dribbles the ball just past the free throw line, travels, and misses an easy layup.
That’s right. He gets a clear shot at the basket from inches away and misses.
That never happens.
I turn the television off. The Wizards are getting the ball back with almost no time left on the clock and they’re ahead by a point.
One of Kim’s friends from work texts me, “Wow”. She and I often text back and forth during Cavs games.
“Hmmm,” I think. Something happened or she would have texted something about she can’t believe that’s how they lost.
I turn the game back on to see a replay of Kevin Love inbounding the ball three quarters of the length of the court to LeBron who turns and shoots one of those impossible shots with virtually no time left on the clock and makes it.
So many lessons there.
Why did I turn off the game in the first place?
Because, when you miss a layup and give the team that’s ahead the ball with just a few seconds left, we all know how this is going to end.
Except it didn’t.
The Cavs went on to win in overtime.
They won without LeBron who fouled out. LeBron never fouls out. The Cavs never win without LeBron.
You never know.
Play til the end.
But every time this happened in the past it ended badly.
The past is the past. It happened. What did we learn from it. We can’t forget the past but we also can’t let it keep us from our future.
And then there’s the lesson of the final shot in regulation.
What gives you the strength to look at the basket from that far away and launch an impossible shot when you just missed the easiest shot in the game uncontested.
The past is the past.
It’s so hard not to be imprisoned by the moment you’re in or by the past.
LeBron said that they practice that shot. They prepare for it. He didn’t talk about the missed layup so much as the preparation that went into the attempt.
I live a life where my wife and daughter died. It defines and shapes me every day.
I don’t put it behind me.
I don’t forget it happened.
But I’m back taking those impossible shots.
I prepare for them. I practice things that give me a chance at succeeding. I move to an open spot and turn to see if someone is passing me the ball.
There is no shot clock in life. We don’t know how much time is left on the clock. We can’t wait to take that shot or time could expire.
Hit me, I’m open.