It can feel like an eternity between the first kid picked for the team and the last. Especially when you’re the last. As team captains alternate, your hopes rise and are dashed. Finally you are picked.

Most of the time the feeling passes when someone yells “Play ball.” And in the event you catch the winning pass or hit the one home run in your life, you guarantee a higher number in the next draft. Suddenly your hopes are fulfilled.

I can’t cite the title, or even verify if it’s true, because I heard the story from a second party. Someone was talking about a movie that takes place in the 1920’s where Spencer Tracy catches a woman about to kill herself. Tracy is on a boat and sees a rich, young socialite about to throw herself off the boat because her fiancé left her for another woman and he’s trying to talk her out of suicide. He says to her, “Do you have a job? Do you have anything that you do in your life?” She said, “No,” and he said, “I think you should get a job, because it’s very hard to be sad and useful at the same time.”

There is a chapter in C. S. Lewis’s lecture “The Weight of Glory” entitled The Inner Ring where Lewis discusses the differences between being included and excluded and the two different “systems” of social relationships. This tension is present in the playground, the college campus, the business office, and the nursing home. When left out of an event Lewis observes, “It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons, but to have them free because you don’t matter, that is much worse.”1

Since this is true, it is good for parents to teach their children to deal with it early. It’s also good for parents to realize they too may have to deal with it today.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” – Proverbs 13:12.

  1. C. S. Lewis. The Weight of Glory (New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1949), 148.

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