On Monday night after supper, because our co-ed recreational softball season begins soon, my husband and I went out to throw ball. For some reason unknown to me, Tony decided this week to change the way I throw.
“Stand sideways. Don’t bend your arm. When you release the ball, flick your wrist. And follow through. That’s really important. Follow through so that you almost touch the ground on the other side.”
“That’s so many directions to follow,” I whined, “so many things to think about all at once.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll become second nature at some point. I promise.”
And we practiced over and over as the little blonde boys next door watched. As they helped my husband find the balls I threw into their yard, into the dense periwinkle surrounding their playhouse.
This would be so much easier, I thought, if instead of changing everything, I just threw the ball the way I wanted and he fixed things afterwards. I’ve been throwing this way for at least five years now and no one’s complained yet. Sometimes they laugh, but no one’s ever really complained.
Tony Bear (Please don’t tell him I told you his nickname!) was so patient with me. Over and over we threw. Again and again he repeated the directions for optimum throwing results.
“Thing is,” he said, “that was a good one, by the way, thing is, once you get this down, you’ll never forget it. You’ll have it for life.” And we kept throwing until darkness fell around us.
And today I am very, very sore. In new places, I ache. Places he predicted I’d hurt. “If you throw the way I’m teaching you, in the morning you’ll feel it along your back and across your stomach. We should stop now, so you aren’t too sore to practice again tomorrow.”
It’s hard. Re-learning something you’ve done your way for years, if not all your life. Throwing, living, loving, forgiving. Default mode is always MY WAY. To break the habit of “but it’s the way I’ve always done it,” you have to read the new rules over and over. Day in and day out you have to study, recite (maybe even memorize), and practice the directions taught you. Even if it feels awkward at first, maybe even hurts, you have to trust that your parent, teacher, coach, or God, knows what he/she/He is talking about, that they have your best interest at heart.
If you love me, keep my commands. ~ John 14:15