From the Rev: Coming to the End
Last night, marked the final game of the 2014 season for the Colorado Rapids. In a season which began with much promise, to say the end was “disappointing” would be an understatement. The Rapids went on a 14-game winless streak to finish the season 8th in the Western Conference. With an uncertain future ahead – many of the players comprising the Rapids current roster may or may not be with the team next season. Add in the expansion drafts of 2015 which will help NYCFC and Orlando City fill out their rosters as well as the rumored dismantling of league-owned Chivas USA and there will be a tremendous amount of dismantling next season with the Rapids and around the league. While these things represent a heavy burden for chaplains to help players, coaches, and staff to carry – there were many opportunities, too, to provide care.
In addition to the Colorado Rapids season result, CrossTraining’s work with Valor Christian High School soccer program also had a disappointing end to the season – a younger team, disciplinary issues within the program, and some difficult losses – all of these made for a challenging year on the high school front. However, on the positive side, there were some unique opportunities to speak into the lives of parents and players and come along side of them in different ways to support them at different moments in life.
In coming to the end, as a chaplain, we tend to look back reflectively over the past season – we try to assess where we saw God working in different situations and in people’s lives, we look critically at the work we did well and the places where we fell short, and we look forward with eyes toward next year, next season to see where we might grow in our faith and where we might grow in our pastoral support of others.
Ends are usually difficult because in coming to the end we must usually say goodbye – whether to people or to philosophies or beliefs that we once held close. For the Valor boys, there are seniors who will move on to college. For the Rapids, there are players who will be traded or waived, there will be staff who move on to other positions or other companies. Ending are not easy, especially in the relational work of caring.
Even Jesus, in coming to the end of his life on earth, and then before his accession to heaven – knew that the end(s) was going to be difficult – leaving friends and family behind. But Jesus gave a promise (his presence), a command (the Great Commission), and a ritual (communion) to help with the ending. As chaplains, we, too don’t merely arrive at endings without at least trying to offer something similarly as Jesus did. We may not be able to be present at all times where life takes them, but we can continue to be present for key moments and times (like the death of a loved one). We may not be able to have direct influence (reminding them of their faith, etc.), but we can connect them to others that can serve them in these ways. And we may not be able to share things like communion at distance, but we can have moments now and remind each other of times to come in the future. And in all of these ways, we might hope and pray that we can come to the various endings in life and sport in ways that are healthy and wholesome.
Rev. Brad Kenney