Tonight I did pick-ups for the teen girls' weekly Bible Study fellowship. My wife Sarah and Taryn Towers do a wonderful job loving on these young ladies on Tuesday nights. What I thought would be a quick first stop ended up in a conversation about how life changes directions.
Jay (not his real name), the boyfriend to one of the teen's relatives, informed me that the teen girl I was looking for was out of control and was not to be found. He related this situation to his life. His mom taught him a healthy fear of her authority. He would never do wrong in front of her or be disrespectful toward her. At the same time, he still allowed himself the option to do wrong when she was not around to see. Before he went through that door though, he had followed a good path. He was active in sports, especially football. He asked his mom to come to his games. She said that she was too busy or had too much work to do. He kept asking her. He pleaded with her to come to his games. She still would not come. Then he started missing practices, or he would go to practice but not really give it his all. He developed relationships with some guys who ran the streets. Finally, he gave up football. He got hooked to life on the streets--gangs and drugs. Eventually, he had to learn the hard way, serving time in the state penitentiary.
Upon reflecting on his mother's unwillingness to come to his football games, he said, "I don't know. I guess it just killed my spirit to play." You could feel the tender hurt in his statement. That was a big part of his life story. He sees now that he could have decided to play just for himself. Toward the end of the conversation, he said, "When I have kids, I am going to do all that I can to be there for them at their games, even if I have to lose my job or something." I believe him.