Life Always Curls!

Two winter Olympics ago I fell in love with the sport of curling. I loved the idea that mortal men and women could stand on the ice and push a 42 pound round flat stone on a sheet of ice roughly 150 long and 16 feet wide. I can barely remain upright when there is just a tad bit of ice on the ground. I am in awe. LOL. If you want to know more about curling check Wikipedia which has an excellent review of the sport, Also check out the about curling page on the World Curling Federation which has educational videos.

In short curling is shuffleboard, or bags, or corn hole on ice. You slide your rock across the ice and try to score points by coming closest to the center. Nothing is guaranteed as each team can knock the opponents stone out of scoring position. The match lasts eight to ten ends (think innings).

What is amazing about curling is that sliding the stone puck would make it a fast-moving game. The reality is that a puck can move fast as fast as the curler wants it to go the whole idea of curling is to be precise. Curlers bend their way around the other pucks in play to score points or take out the opposition.

curling stones

Some say the game of curling is chess on ice. I think it is a metaphor for life itself.

Life is never easy, but it is good. We all experience victories as well as defeats. Sometimes the path we seek in life comes true. Other times we think we have positioned ourselves properly to reach our goals but then we get knocked off course by some unseen event. Our only choice is to move forward even if it means we may have to change or bend our course to get around some obstacles.

The key in curling as well as just about any other sport is that you must forget about your good shots and your bad shots because the only important shot is the next one. When a curler or a baseball pitcher throws a bad shot or bad pitch they need to put it behind them as soon as possible. Likewise, if they throw a good pitch they cannot bask in the glory because with every throw the game changes.

Whether it is life or curling or baseball or other sport where individual efforts matter we always must move forward, even if it is just an inch at a time. It is the movement through life that sustains us. It is our calling and the gas for our engines even in tough times.

My father died when I was 17 during my high school senior summer. I was scheduled to leave for college in September but dad suddenly died at age 43, in August. My worldview was destroyed. Everything I thought I would do was predicated on the idea that I would have two living parents in my only child life. Now everything changed.

It was strange not having my dad around. It was difficult trying to pick up the pieces. When someone dies prematurely it is never easy for the survivors. Slowly I shifted my thoughts and direction. I enrolled at a local university so I would not have to leave home. I found local employment and maintained my friendships. My relatives were very helpful during this time as they rallied around us.

Little victories popped up. I didn’t cry one night when I went to sleep. My dad’s friends could tell me stories about their exploits. I felt like going out and doing something on the weekends. After one year I felt like I had moved forward. In some areas of my life an inch and in others several feet. It would however take several years before I could put my father’s sudden death in perspective and move on.

Life during that first year, so slowly like a curling stone trying to find its way through a mess of stones. I started to place myself in positions to succeed. I took jobs that were shitty, so I had money coming in. I went away to University. I met my future wife. I recalculated my career path from banking to ministry. Rarely did the moves come quickly. Some were well plotted out others where chaotic, but all were made with the idea that I could only move forward. Staying in place or moving backward was not possible.

I write this piece not only for myself but for all others whose life has been turned upside down. I pray for those who lost loved ones in the  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Right now the tears and emotions are raw. It is a time of mourning and remembrance. Your lives will never be the same but your lives will move on. Inch by inch, minute by minute until there is a time when the horror will fade and only the good memories exist. God will help you navigate through life. You may have to curl into it and you will have good days and bad days but eventually you will move on. Moving on is the greatest tribute you can make to those who died for nothing. Make your life be about something no matter the obstacles in your way.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue your journey.