I've about come to terms with the impending reality that my Kentucky Wildcats will not be in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this spring. I know some bracketologists are still predicting they'll make it, but they must not have seen them play the past several games. If I'm wrong, and they do make it into the tournament, I'll follow them as far as they go. (I suspect that's an easy promise to make that won't require much of me this year.) If they don't get in at all, their absence will seriously alter my life's schedule during March. I may fill out a bracket on selection Sunday anyway, but it won't be nearly as much fun, and Deanna will tell me I'll have to take that process much more seriously because I always have Kentucky winning it. That's not likely this year, although I'd like to be proven wrong there, too. And I guess I can go to work most days without worrying about when to run home to catch a Kentucky game. Looks like March will be a much different month for me than it usually is. In case you haven't figured out what rabid basketball fans we (and many of our friends) are, this time of year always reminds me of the Saturday afternoon when Marquette was beating the tar out of Kentucky in the tournament and our phone rang with less than two minutes left. Caller ID is a great gift during basketball season, so when I went to the phone and saw the name and number of a dear friend who was near death, I knew I had to answer. My friend's son (who is as rabid a KY fan as I am) opened the conversation this way, "Bob, you know I wouldn't bother you now if Daddy weren't dead!" We were both glad his dad didn't have to watch the outcome of that game, which ejected KY from the tournament. I'm coming to terms with the distinct possibility that there won't be drama like that this March.
I'm also thinking about Lent, which began yesterday, as a time for coming to terms with some other realities that I can't control. Every year, I set out to improve the quality of my spiritual life, and every year I fall short of my goals. Even though I know and believe that guilt is not a particularly helpful thing, I get caught up in it like everyone else does. One of my goals for this Lent is to come to terms with the reality that I will never be all that I think God is calling me to be. But an even greater goal is to remember that God knows that, and that God has promised to stay in relationship with me anyway.
The Kentucky basketball parts of this post won't mean much to most who read it. I hope my Lenten coming to terms thinking will. We belong to God. God loves us. God has promised that that will never change, regardless of our worthiness or lack of it. Come to terms with it.
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