Last Sunday I had a long-awaited play date with my pal, Satish. When he was little, that meant an afternoon of basketball, T-ball, and maybe even time to read a book or two. Now that he's older, it means we hang out and watch a football game. This week it was the Lions "versing" the Green Bay Packers...or at least that's how Satish and his little brother, Danta, say "versus".
Satish didn't know what time I was going to come over, so when I arrived a little later than planned, I heard his voice call from the living room, "Finally!" He wasn't being rude -- it's just his way of letting me know he was looking forward to seeing me.
As he's ten now, there's an unspoken agreement between us that a hello hug is not really necessary, but a good-bye hug is fine as long as I don't kiss him in front of his soccer buddies. So instead of snuggling on the couch with a storybook like we did when he was younger, Satish regaled me on what would have to happen in order for the University of Michigan to make it to a bowl game.
"First, they'd have to do super well in the rest of their games," he explained. "And other teams would have to do poorly so Michigan could rise in the ranks." Shaking his head sadly, Satish said, "Really, there are too many variables that have to go right in order for it to happen."
I smiled, delighted by his ever-present astute wisdom. "Well, you never know."
Satish flashed me a knowing smile. "Yeah, you never know."
When we get together, the boys and I love playing chess or a board game. When they were little, I always asked if I should let them win at chess or play my best. Neither Satish nor Danta wanted me to throw the game, so after a stealth move on my part, one of them usually said, "Drat! Now I'm going to lose!"
Shaking my head, I always replied, "The game's not over yet...you never know."
Time proved that the tide often turned and they end up being victorious. Actually...nowadays Satish always beats me soundly, although the last time we played I gave him a pretty good run for his money.
Seeing a clear opening early in the match, I snatched his queen with a pawn. "Holy cow, dude!" I cried. "That was too easy!"
"I haven't practiced for a long time and I'm not thinking properly," he lamented. "That's why you're going to win."
With his next move he captured my queen...and I'm still not sure if he was using reverse psychology or not.
In any event, last Sunday at the beginning of the Lions vs. Packers game, Satish (a die-hard Lions fan to the end) bitterly complained about the poor season they're having this year.
"See? They're already down three points and it's not even a few minutes into the first quarter," he sighed.
"Oh, well," I shrugged. "There are three more quarters. You never know...they could kick their butts into high gear and get the job done."
And that's how it went. Play by play, down by down, the Lions tried to rally. I've never, ever seen a "fourth down and inches", but sure enough, there it was on the big screen TV.
Alas, all too quickly it was time to leave as I was driving Satish to his indoor soccer game and didn't know how long it would take to get there.
"Don't worry...there's lots of time," he said as we buckled up and hit the road. "We always have to wait until the other team finishes using the court."
Sure enough, we arrived before anyone else, so Satish and I chatted until the rest of his teammates arrived.
"Are you taping the Lions game?" I asked.
"Nah...I don't usually tape football games."
"Not even Michigan ones?"
Satish shrugged. "Because it's too hard to not hear the final score before I have time to watch it. Sometimes Danta tells me who won and that kinda spoils it for me."
"Yeah...it's more fun to have the suspense, huh? Makes the game more interesting."
Once his buddies arrived, Satish put on his game face and talked with them while I found a spot near the window where I could watch the last few minutes of a pretty good soccer match.
Moments later, Satish hurried over to me. "Katie! Someone just told me that the Lions are up ten to seven!"
"Well, how about that?" I beamed. "They might win after all."
"Yeah...you never know," he grinned as he trotted off to the soccer field.
Like many people, I like to know when and how things will happen. I want to keep a pulse on the future, working toward something new, not spinning my wheels waiting around for the inevitable. Yes, I'm a Type A, but according to my friend, Brenda, I'm a relaxed Type A who's mellowing as the years go by. Still, on Friday while teaching a knitting group in Danta's lower-elementary classroom, one of the boys (the fella who said I was the craziest woman he'd ever met), grinned at me. "Aren't you that control freaky friend of Danta's I met at his house last month?"
Remembering my diligence in getting them to the soccer field on time, I had to laugh. "Yeah, but I'm also a lot of fun...or don't you remember that part?"
Eric nodded playfully. "Oh, sure...that, too."
Lately I've been earnest in letting go of my control freaky ways and trusting in the wisdom of a divine plan. The philosopher, Alan Watt once wrote: Supposing you knew the future and could control it perfectly. What would you do? You'd say, "Let's shuffle the deck and have another deal."
Isn't that the truth?
Sure, I'd love to know a lot of things, but I've recently figured out that to have it all figured out is impossible, for the variables are always changing. These days I don't get too comfortable with what I think or feel or intuit because I've learned that it's better to go with the flow than get stuck in the muck of a limiting mindset. For the first time in my life, I'm a woman without a clear plan, and ever since I let go of needing one, I've received more joy, abundance, and creative energy than I've had in nearly ten years. I'm working in a host of venues, doing a variety of work, meeting a plethora of people and discovering that the future will take care of itself while I take of myself in the present moment. After all, I can never know all the events that are taking place behind the scenes...the things other people are experiencing, the pieces that need to be put into place in order for my dreams to come true.
At halftime during Satish's game, I needed to go back to the lobby as the strong odor of the rubber turf was giving me a headache. I couldn't catch his eye to let him know I wasn't leaving, that I'd be watching from the other side of the glass. When he got back on the field, I noticed Satish glancing toward the sidelines where his father and other parents were standing.
I'm still here, I silently said, hoping he'd pick up on my mental telepathy.
I needn't have worried. My pal and I know each other all too well. When the game was done and I congratulated him on a match well-played, he beamed.
"I was watching from the lobby," I smiled as we headed to the parking lot. "You know I'd never leave in the middle of one of your games."
He gave me a hug, nodding.
I savored the moment, knowing Satish is growing up all too fast...somewhere in-between being a child and becoming a young adult.
In this game of life, I feel as though I'm still in the middle, too -- somewhere between where I've been and where I'm going. But isn't that true for everyone? Aren't we all hanging in the balance of what has been and what will be? It's what we do in the present moment that matters, for as Alan Watt also reminds us, tomorrow never comes.
Life is always changing, and with everything that's left behind in Satish's childhood, something richer comes to life as he grows up. We've traded stuffed animals for soccer balls and good-night kisses for high fives. Still, through it all, I've come to understand that embracing change always reveals the joy of what has been as it clears the path for something new.
Satish may never know how much I love him. But today, tomorrow, and forever, I know for certain there will be endless opportunities to show him.