Someday you’ll understand…
You can’t learn about life by reading about it. You learn about life by living it. One of the most annoying but true things we ever hear is, “Someday you’ll understand.” My parents said it to me (and I didn’t believe it), and I’ve said it to my own kids.
The other day someone asked me why I go to church, and I told them that it’s often the only time all week when I set aside my busy life and really think about the important things. To be honest, there are times when my mind wanders, there are times when I think to myself, “That’s so wrong,” and there are many times when I’m just confused. But every once in a while, I will have a moment of insight that makes it all worthwhile. Plus, I like the music. And the people. And coffee hour.
One of the things I’ve learned over my lifetime is the importance of being in the present moment. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. All we have, really, is right now. I should have titled this The Cliché Column. But it’s true. Every moment that you’re alive is a moment of infinite possibility and wonder.
One of the things I love about sports is that it puts you into the expanded present. All you care about is what you’re doing at the moment to win a tennis game or finish a bike ride or try and a score a goal before the ref blows the whistle. This intense focus on the present moment is true for fans as well. When your team is about to win the World Series for the first time in 50 years, as the Giants were in 2010, your universe collapses down to that final inning, when hope and excitement battle fear and dread until the very last out.
Another lesson from sports, but really from any endeavor, is that the more you do something, the better you get. You practice and play and work, until you go from a panting, out-of-breath slug, to a relatively fit athlete, to a superstar (well, not me personally). Or you go from a struggling piano player who can barely read notes, to the point where you are starting to sound pretty good, to the point where you can sit down and play a piece from memory with no mistakes. All it takes is hours and hours, and years and years.
That’s what growing up and getting older is. We keep at it long enough, until one day we realize we really are older and wiser. Experience over time equals wisdom (for most of us anyway), and it’s a process that never ends until we do.