Damar Hamlin

Along with millions of others, I was watching the game when Damar went down. I was confused, just like everyone else. Looking at the replay I told Bill I didn’t think it was a head injury. (We have some experience with what head injuries look like. 🙂 ) But if not that, then what? On the edge of my seat, I couldn’t turn away. My concern had me dialed into every word the announcers were fumbling around trying to find. He’s 24. Everyone was befuddled. When CPR was started, the seriousness became evident. There was a holy hush. The stadium. The TV. Everyone waited with hearts in their throats. Life and death. Right there on the field. In the middle of a football game.

There is not a metaphor for life that has been used more than football. We say life is like a football game, ups and downs require perseverance. We say you have to have teamwork, like in football, to get you through life. We talk about winning and losing and how we play the game. How we get back up after a hard play. Pastors use the football analogy in sermons, teachers use it in lectures; I have heard the parallels since I was a kid.

Here we are again seeing life reflected in a football game.

  • Life is short. Too short to let our differences and rivalries come between us. Too short to let division separate us. You never know when your time is up.
  • We are stronger together than apart. When serious situations are happening, we need each other. We support one another. We care.
  • Prayer works. If you believe in God at all, you likely have learned this in difficult situations. If you don’t know it already, it is circumstances like this one where you will see the power of prayer.
  • We are not as divided as we think. To talk to many people in our culture right now, you would think the sky is falling. On that field, we saw it is indeed not. We are all together when it matters.
  • Us and them doesn’t exist. Viewing someone as “other” is a petty mindset which doesn’t recognize humanity. Rivalries, political opponents, religions, colors, anything that divides the millions of people watching this game became invisible. In an instant. We put down our swords. When Damar went down we all became ‘us’. There were no ‘thems’ among us.
  • Unexpected traumas require patience, even on a football field. If you have ever witnessed someone die it is traumatic. Trauma hits hard and recovery takes time. Just like the physical body requires time to heal so do our collective emotional selves. Damar was revived. We will be too.
  • Review and reflect. Football players review the tapes of their games. Bearing witness to life and death requires us all to consider what we have seen and how it affects us. What will be different having observed this event? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.

We will go back to games as usual. But as Damar heals, he will be a reminder of all we took away from being witnesses to that game. A moment it time where the holy hush between life and death was made real. Grown men wept. Rivals kneeled. Audiences prayed. All around the world, in an instant, what is truly important was playing on every channel. A reminder. A heavenly analogy we can understand…life is indeed like a football game.

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