If we only knew

If we only knew

There isn’t a precise moment when you can see it happen. Only that he has grown. It’s not an abrupt shift, and could possibly only be observed through a time lapse filming, like the BBC’s Planet Earth footage of a flower blooming or a sunrise from space. It is as dramatic and beautiful as that, too.

Truly the bloom, the explosion, is easy and amazing to see, if we can manage to see it. Sometimes we are hanging around too close to the subject, and we are too myopic or wrongly focused. But when we step back and get a proper look, we see a bigger picture. Last weekend, I was given a stunning portrait of a genuine, brilliant, honorable young man.

His college basketball career was coming to an end. He would be celebrated as a graduating senior in the way he’d seen all the seniors be celebrated each year. As they leave the floor of their final game, the [very tough] coach and mentor always gave a sincere expression of his respect for each senior. A simple tradition, filled with gratification and closure. The years with this all-important coach have been tumultuous for him, and altogether invigorating. In his last game, in his last moment of this game, every nerve was anticipating this moment; his heart was already heavy for the end of this great chapter of his life. But truly this celebrated moment would be the resolution he needed.

Somehow, through a series of mistakes, his final minutes on the court, and the moment he’d anticipated for three years was, not to be given to him.  Time, humanness, foolishness, weakness, all played their cards. And each of these things played themselves out through the middle of his expectations and hopes.

He didn’t get that moment. His ending would be different that he’d always thought. The coach turned the other way, absent from the moment. Our son would hear the calls from the parents in the stands to acknowledge Erik Erik, but something went wrong. His parents were hurt and devastated. He was heartbroken. His teammates were mystified. We wanted confrontation and an explanation. But in the midst of it, our athlete-leader-son held strength and grace in the true expression of what he knows is on the inside of his heart. Led by God.  He didn’t carry any anger. After he let himself grieve, he simply knew he had to exist above it. And in the end, the truly-kind coach apologized and we know that was pretty darn hard. Grace is enough all around.

But exercising the truth that we know in our heads is often one of the most difficult challenges in life. We know we shouldn’t let another person affect our view of ourselves; it’s a battle of wills.  Here he was, standing tall and strong. Stalwart and genuine in his trust in God (and His will!)

I wished I felt as strong. I wished I hadn’t been weakened by a too-busy schedule and I was emotionally spent. So I seethed. My heart hurt for my son. I cried out big mother-size tears for a story that would be painful for a long time. My son was already moving forward and I could too.

Lo and behold. Within 48 hours, I would hear that this same coach had nominated our son for a prestigious award of talent, integrity, and leadership  — both on and off the basketball court. And indeed, we found out just hours ago that our son was awarded the Pete Maravich Trophy for 2013/2014. Stunning. Coach tweeted the news.


I wrote this post to give my son the honor I thought he deserved after that last painful game. But God beat me to it.  His writing (of His plan) is so much more brilliantly exciting than mine.




  1. Robin Mounce
    Mar 12, 2014

    The heart ache of a mother watching their children go through painful times. How we are sanctified in the most unusual ways. Blessings on you and Erik. I can’t believe he is finished already with his college years!

    • Suzy
      Mar 12, 2014

      How wonderful to see you. Thank you for your note.
      – soon

  2. Miriam
    Mar 12, 2014

    Oh, this left me breathless, Suzy! It is just another example of God exalting those who humble themselves. Thanks for this glimpse inside your heart. Just beautiful. Congrats to your son and to you guys! Miss you, my friend.

    • Suzy
      Mar 12, 2014

      Thank you for being here. I had to edit the post to properly finish the story. Coach apologized — grace is enough all around.
      I miss you and love you.

  3. Suze
    Mar 14, 2014

    Oh my dear Suzy! That was not how I pictured your time at Erik’s last game! I’m so sorry. And I share in your momma’s pain of a beloved son’ s challenge in the midst of a sporting situation – most recently when my Danny went down during an MSU lacrosse scrimmage. He tore his ACL. And so, his much trained-for and highly-anticipated senior season is over just as it was getting started, and thus, his lacrosse career. He feels the loss very acutely, as do we. Thankfully though, like Erik, he is relying on The Lord to use it for good in his life. Our young men of godly character – Aren’t we so astoundingly blessed?!! Congratulations to Erik and you all, for his well-deserved award!! Hugs all around! xo

  4. Dolly@Soulstops
    Mar 16, 2014

    What a truly inspiring story on several levels. It showed the depth of your son’s character, and also the depth of what was invested in him by others, like his parents.

    Congrats to your son, Erik, on winning the award 🙂

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