We had our end-of-season hockey party yesterday on a cool, overcast Sunday. It was supposed to be a cookout, but we moved all the food inside because it was so chilly. The kids weren't bothered by the weather, however. They spent the entire party playing street hockey on the driveway.
The end of the season is bittersweet. I'm excited not to have to run around as much getting everyone to practice, but we've spent almost the entire school year playing with most of these kids. As I watched the kids play, I realized that this hockey season that we started with a bit of trepidation about how well our girl was going to fit in with this team of boys ended with her being just one of the gang. I know that she will miss skating with her friends over the summer, and I will miss hanging out with the moms and dads.
When she first started playing hockey, I would lie awake at night worrying about how well she was fitting in and whether this was the right thing for our little girl to be doing. Yet, God has placed a passion for this game inside her. She would rather have a hockey stick in her hand than anything else. And, she's learned so much this year. All my concerns were for naught. She had great coaches who taught her and encouraged her. She had great teammates who helped her learn and accepted her. And she had a group of parents in the stands who were rooting for her to succeed.
And I learned something from my youngest as well. This hockey season has taught me that if God gives you a passion for something, you should follow it. No matter the obstacles or how uncomfortable you might feel, there's joy in doing the things God created you to do. Too often, we look at something -- a task, a dream -- that we would like to do, and we dismiss it as impossible or too far outside the norm to be done.
We've spent the past few weeks trying to figure out the mechanics of what her team calls a "peanut butter shot" -- a shot that goes in the top of the net (the top shelf where you keep the peanut butter). She and I have spent hours on the driveway trying to lift that puck into the air. She finally has figured it out, and in warm-ups for her last game, she got a puck to lift a couple of inches off the ground. It was quite the accomplishment, and it was fun to see all that determination beginning to pay off.
God wants us to follow our passions -- he gave them to us for a reason. He wants us to be determined to finish the things He's asked us to do. We want to be like Paul who tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Make that verse your goal this week -- to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith in whatever God asks you to do -- even if it's not easy.
This hockey season, I learned from one determined 8-year-old, that you can follow the dreams God has given you -- even in the face of a world that tells you that you've deviated from the norm. Even when it's harder than you thought it would be. And even when it would be easier to give up.