“Go Broncos!” This was the never ending chant of my 2 year old, Emery, while we were finishing up our dinner at a local pub in Denver. My wife and I coached her to cheer for the Broncos after she told us repeatedly that she was rooting for the Seahawks and was sure they would win. Turns out, we should have let her do what she wanted. I am sure that by the 3rd quarter, when we left to get her ready for bed, the patrons at the pub were relieved to see us go. Each cute “Go Broncos!” must have felt like a stab to the heart of each die hard Broncos fan.
Yesterday, news sites were filled with headlines about the death of a beloved actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman. This news made it kind of hard to get into the Super Bowl as much as we wanted to. Another actor who “had it all” losing it all to a battle to the death with a hardcore addiction. Stories like this one tend to put a few things into perspective for most of us. Apparently, reaching the highest level of achievement within your vocation doesn’t guarantee happiness or ensure that you will be completely content with your life. I’m sure Peyton feels like another ring on his finger wouldn’t hurt, but I suppose it’s good to keep in mind that our lives are far more than our achievements — or lack there of.
In the midst of the craziness of yesterday, my daughter’s carefree chanting seemed to come out of a place of true contentment. Tragedy tends to make most of us mourn our own mortality. Sports humiliation tends to make us become competitive, excuse manufacturing and even angry. Somehow, my child managed to avoid all of those feelings and simply exist within her place of simple joy. I am not saying that we should just numb ourselves to the pain of tragedy around us. In fact, I think that allowing ourselves to fully feel that pain is vital to our own growth and healing. I guess that I am just thinking back to Jesus’ statement about needing to become like children to enter God’s Kingdom.
It seems that there is something profound about living out of the core of who we are, regardless of what is happening around us. If that core causes us to shamelessly and joyfully cheer for the team that is experiencing their most humiliating defeat in years, so be it. If it causes us to look on with hope regardless of the evidence of hopelessness around us, so be it. If it causes us to mourn deeply for a tragic loss in an effort to be fully present, so be it. My child knows how to live this unapologetically authentic life much better than I do. Yesterday I got to see a glimpse of it and, once again, I was inspired by my 2 year old, live-in, Kingdom teacher.