Death is what takes place within us when we look upon others not as gift, blessing, or stimulus but as threat, danger, competition. Dorothee Soelle
Meditation: Four years ago I took one of my daughters out of her competitive gymnastics group. This was a difficult decision as my daughter is very athletic. The climate was such that the gymnastic girls were part of a team, but they were seeing each other more as rivals. The culture of permanent individual scoring and judging enforced this perception. Only in moments when it came to the overall score of the team competing against another team, the girls united – yet when one of the girls could not keep up or let the group down in any way, she would be socially punished or publicly shamed. My daughter is naturally ambitious and competitive in a good way. However, remaining in the described climate her soul might have taken on the life diminishing view of seeing others only as threats, and she might have started engaging life in permanent competition mode. So we parents decided to take her out. For four years we “wandered” around looking for a life giving athletic home without much success. Last week (after two months of motivated practicing) my daughter made it onto the Volleyball team of her High school. She especially likes to be the one passing the ball on to her peers, so that they can score. There is a lot of “high-fiving”, encouragement of each other and team spirit. I am glad we waited. I am grateful my daughter is back in athletics, but with a team spirit of building each other up and truly collaborating.
Prayer: Life giving God, we thank you for groups and communities that are life giving. We pray for our children, teens and for ourselves that we always have a group that builds us up and that conveys Your Spirit of appreciation and support. We pray that our sport, school and church communities become such places where it is safe to be, and where each person is being celebrated as a unique contribution to the group. Thank You for Your Spirit that blesses us with being part of such communities. Amen
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4