I can hear it now. Twitter and Facebook will be afire with the post-game interviews with quotes of Tebow’s incredible humility. That in light of this incredible trial, we should all be deeply inspired by Tim Tebow’s incredible faith. Not me. This is football. He’s been through this before. In high school. At Florida. It’s football. He’s a 2nd year pro player against one of the top quarterbacks and top coaches in the NFL, there was a solid chance he was going down. This was an incredible opportunity, a fantastic learning experience and I would hope as a young boldly Christian player with James Dobson ads running explaining his 3:16 reflectors he would be humble. But this is not a trial. It’s a football game and it’s a loss. And in the infamous words of Matt Chandler to the St. Louis Cardinals, “No matter how much they pay you or how much hype you get, your still just dudes getting paid way too much money to throw a ball – that doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you blessed.” (Patterson – Garbage or Glory – The Village 11/13/11)
I am no Patriots fan. I mean, the Patriots are fine. I am a Jets fan. And I am no Tebow hater, Tebow is fine. He’s a nice kid, raised by Christian parents who “trained up their child in the way he should he go” and he has not departed from it. He loved Jesus in high school when people hated on him for breaking into their school district. He loved Jesus in college when people hated on him for being so good. And he has loved Jesus in the NFL. His family supports him, from what I can see it’s been a generally agreeable life. There is not one thing wrong with this. However, I am not quite sure that this is something that we need to lift up in front of an entire generation of people and say THIS IS INSPIRING. Particularly when the majority of the real world will never know this kind of life. Now, I do have some dear friends who are currently home furloughing and I bet their kids, who live at the ends of the earth would tell you that this is no easy life. And I guarantee you that the children of my pastor in Waco would argue that their life as the children of a couple establishing a growing mega-church was not trial-free. However, I am thinking of one of my heros – one of the girls I admire the most in the while wide world…
She is a real human. She was living a beautiful life, the youngest of three siblings. Beautiful Christian home. Until her mom told her her Dad was not her Dad, but her Dad was a student of her Dad’s that she had an affair with… and that they were leaving… and that her brother and sister were going to stay with their Dad, not her Dad. So they left. They started over. It was actually beautiful. Her Mom and Dad started over, they committed their family to faith and they worked hard at family. They went to their old university for homecoming and my friend’s mom was able to talk to her son and have a beautiful reconciliation. And then the son came and shot my friends Mom and Dad, while she was upstairs hiding in the closet, then he shot himself. The police walked her out of her house with a t-shirt over her head. She came to college at the university where her original Dad taught. She dated a tool. She was more committed to her faith than the tool. Then she started dating another guy… things happened. Let me just say that despite their love for each other, their commitment to each other, their marriage, their kids – their marriage has been no easy task, but they put in the hard work, they chose each other, love, and laughter. Four children and many years later, they have found a beautiful rhythm of faith and love.
That is a trial. That is trial by fire. That is the kind of person that deserves tweets and accolades and sermons and books and stories.
Not someone who grew up with Christian parents, went to college on a scholarship and then signed with the NFL – living the dream. That’s awesome. And I am happy for them. But like Matt Chandler said, that’s doesn’t make you a hero, that makes you blessed.
I wish we lived in a world of Tim Tebow’s where it all went right for everyone. But it doesn’t. It also doesn’t always go as wrong as it did for my friend. Heaven knows if I would be half the woman that she was, or half the man that her husband is. I hope that I would be, but I doubt it.
They are my heros. Not Tim Tebow.
And I wish that we would spend a lot more time encouraging the people like my friend. People who don’t have the cushion of millions of tweets and dollars to soften the blow of the horrific trial of the loss of a post season game…
On Mother’s Day millions of tweets don’t go out about my friend’s amazing strength as a mother, while she aches for her own. On her anniversary no one gets on the nightly news and goes on and on about how her faith could be a part of defying 50% divorce statistics, despite the chaotic picture of marriage that was portrayed for her. And on the darkest day, the anniversary of when it all happened, no one, no one remembers but her family and a handful of friends – and even at that – there is little on this side of heaven that can comfort that kind of horrific tragedy, trauma and loss. No accolades for her. Just runny noses, dirty diapers and bills. There is certainly no time for tweeting.
These are the people that we should allow to inspire us.
This doesn’t mean Tim Tebow is not inspiring, or heartening, or that we shouldn’t hope for such a life for our own children – but he’s not my hero. And tonight’s loss was no trial.