Sunday, September 11, 2011
A few thoughts, 10 years later.
Years ago I was given the tremendous opportunity to serve a mission for the LDS church in Venezuela. Like many missionaries in the first few months of missionary service, I experienced a high degree of home sickness. I remember very specifically one Saturday in late November realizing that, most likely, Michigan would be playing Ohio State on that day. I could almost hear Keith Jackson’s voice telling me, and Nelly, what a hot one was in store. I longed to be home, and in that specific moment I hated it there. I also remember very specifically feeling like the people of Venezuela did not fully realize or appreciate how much I had given up to be there with them.
Somewhere around a year later, after an absolutely enumerable number of spiritual and generally character-building experiences, I found myself at lunch with a member of the church there. As we enjoyed lunch, he put on some random college football game, which we saw for about half an hour as we ate. After thanking him for lunch, we walked out into the street and realized immediately that we were still in Venezuela, which can be a harsh realization.
Fortunately, my mission consisted of thousands of amazing experiences, and not just the two I have described above. As Elder Holland once said, I enjoyed my mission more than any other missionary ever had before, or ever has since. As my mission drew to a close, I found myself extremely embarrassed ever to have thought that the people of Venezuela should have been cognizant of what I had laid aside to be there. I realized that the only difference between my situation and theirs was that I had been born where I was, and they had been born where they were. Beyond that, I would eventually return to my embarrassment of riches, while their situation was most likely fixed in relative poverty.
My intention in recounting the above memories is this: football, to me, is home. I love September at the Stadium. I love Super Bowl parties, and I love watching 3+ games on any given Saturday. Keith Jackson’s voice makes me tear up, and I would probably leave my life behind to go live at Ty Detmer’s place forever. Further, when I attend a football game in person, the Star Spangled Banner will often cause me to reflect on how much I love and appreciate living in the United States. This may be strange, but it is also 100% percent true for me.
So, not surprisingly, I turned on the evening football game just now. I found the broadcast right at the beginning of a memorial tribute to the events of 9/11, now ten years ago. As they played Taps, Amazing Grace, and then the Star Spangled Banner, I was again reminded of exactly how lucky I am. I also thought a little bit about the people who perpetrated these attacks, which only served to further my sense of gratitude. These people live in the darkest of places, with the darkest of hearts. Their whole existence is now dedicated to the misery of others. I can only assume this only serves to bring misery into their own lives as well. What a horrible shame that is.
So, I love me some football; which always serves to remind me that I love me some America. I love living in a place where hatred is not the norm. I love living in a country where opportunities are provided us almost universally. Basically, I am grateful not to be living in a cave, with a heart full of hate.
God Bless America. Always. Thanks for putting me here