My place in the story started in 1986. I did not grasp the greatness of the story, the history, or the emotional up’s and down’s in the years ahead. But once exposed, I simply wasn’t the same.
I knew that this was for life in 1988.
KU had had the longest at-home winning streak that year until we lost to K-State, Duke and OU. The Big Dance found us with a, shall we say, not high ranking, and were predicted to go out early. In the magical part of a good story, a story filled with an under-dog and good drama, who were the last three teams we faced? K-State. Duke. And OU.Thus began my annual participation in a great story. Oh the streets of Lawrence were alive that night!
One year two friends and I hopped into car on a Friday night and drove for 17 hours with the hope of finding tickets for the Elite Eight. When we were down by 12 at the first half. it didn’t seem such a wise idea. Faith in the Hawks prevailed on that night and we won! The 17-hour-drive to be at work on time Monday morning was pure joy.
Another year I was in Beijing and my internet went out with five minutes left! THIS COULD NOT BE HAPPENING. Not now. Not to me! My dear friend and fellow Hawk, Kim, came through and when I called her in a panic she did color commentary (complete with helpful reference to hair styles) all the way to our victory in OT.
Not every year is a joyous part of the story. Often there are injuries, unfair calls, loss, disappointment, heartache. The tales we tell in those times root us in the story much bigger than that season. In a story that has a happy ending in something beyond the here-and-now.
I am not the only one who likes to recite a great story. A story that is building towards something and rooted in hope. The Israelites made a habit of recounting their story. It’s in the historical writings, the wisdom literature, the prophets, and the start of Christianity. It too is filled with injuries, unfair calls, loss, disappointment, and heartache. But that is not the point of the story. Not at all.
As Lent is nearing the end and we move into Holy Week, do not grow weary telling the story. Though it is familiar, every year there is something unique about the hearing or the telling. The challenges faced, the victories celebrated.
We all have annual stories. I am up early on a Monday morning sitting in a cold hall watching the KU game in the early hours, hoping that our story doesn’t end today. Whether we win or lose, this story will continue again next year. However, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” the eternal story would never be the same.
What are annual stories you join?