The Long Game ~ Guest Contributor, Loy Warren
As a kid, I loved baseball. My home town, Kansas City, had a professional team — the Athletics. The A’s spent 10 years in KC but never had a winning season. But, they were my team. On the sandlot every day of the summer, my friends and I would pretend to be one of our favorite players on the team.
Baseball has a long season..162 games over six months. A winning streak can turn a season around. More than that, a team can have a history that propels them from losers to winners over several years. Still a KC baseball fan, I watched in amazement as the Royals went from bad to best over several years by developing a skilled team, winning the World Series handily in 2015.
Life is a Long Game. We forget this in our instant-gratification, instant-internet-order-expedited-delivery, quick-pill-fix culture. Everything we do is NOW. I work in a global business where clients expect response to electronic requests immediately, day or night. We respond immediately to our smartphones when we get an alert, multiple times an hour. But, in reality, the most important things in life take years to develop or recover. There are few exceptions to this. When we consider marriage and family we must think beyond instant gratification and quick fixes. This is a reality I could not accept as a young father with a rebellious teenager. But, 20 years later I can father with compassion an adult child who struggles under the consequences of her life choices.
Work and career have taken a dramatic turn in our culture as we move from generation to generation. I do not blame younger folks for being opportunistic and changing jobs, even careers frequently. The situation was created by multiple factors including the short term profit motives of major corporations. I do acknowledge that it IS, and we should thoughtfully consider how to approach vocation with long term goals in mind. In my own vocation real success occurs as groups of people create committed networks within their employers rather than just acting like selfish individuals.
This brings me to the core idea of Life as a Long Game. Committed relationships. This very idea was exploded by the surge of baby-boom me-ism in the 1970s. Marriage, family, church, work have all suffered from selfish individualism. The Cultural Well is still poisoned by the toxin of ME.
Healing occurs when individuals, energized by faith principles, choose to commit to the best interests of the other. Standing beside someone over time even when it is inconvenient changes me and the person or group I want to partner with. Life together is The Long Game.
Loy Warren is an Engineer, student of theology, husband of one life-long love, father, and grandfather trying to be righteous and make a difference for the Kingdom of God.