Last night we had a dinner party at the house I`m staying in. I made some Japanese-style ginger pork (shogayaki: always a win!) for the main course. And for dessert we had blueberry cheesecake. Here`s a very bad photo of it.
I can`t even begin to describe how good it was. Because I didn’t have any.
You see in a couple of weeks I will be visiting Japan to do visa stuff and have some meetings about my future ministry, etc. And whilst I`m there I will also be joining my ultimate frisbee team, Wasabi, for the Asia Oceanic Beach Ultimate Championships.
I`m very excited about that. Because,
- I love playing frisbee, and I really love tournaments, and I especially really love beach tournaments.
- I love my Wasabi teammates, and I really love playing frisbee with them, and I haven`t seen most of them for almost a year.
But I`m very aware that I haven’t trained with Wasabi for almost a year. Ive followed along with the team chat online and am kinda up to date with what our strategy is and what plays we`ll be doing, but I am still going into this tournament with a lot of catching up to do.
So I figure the best way for me to love them is to not eat cake and beer until after the tournament.
I`ve been thinking a lot recently about how playing sports can be a way of loving people. You can love spectators by playing in a way that is enjoyable to watch; you can love the organisers by honouring the spirit of the sport they gave time and energy to promote; you can love your opponents through trust, respect, fair play, and good communication; and you can love your teammates by giving your absolute best.
I want to give my best for my team. I want to love them well. And I think a low-key detox in the build-up to the tournament is one way to do that. I know from experience that by cutting out cakes and beer for these few weeks I`ll be able to run a little bit faster and a little bit further, and who knows, maybe even stay airborne for a little bit longer.
I don’t think there`s anything wrong with enjoying sweet things in moderation, and the same goes for alcohol (I`m not intending to give a defence of that viewpoint here: there`s a bunch of stuff been written on it). But sometimes loving people means making small, unimpressive, not-technically-necessary sacrifices.
When I`m finished with my ultimate frisbee career I want to be able to say to those I played with what Paul said to the Thessalonians,
Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our own lives.1 Thessalonians chp 2 vs 8
I`m still thinking through all this, and learning and growing in what it looks like to bring together playing sports, doing mission, and loving people. I know there are many other ways for me to love my teammates (and opponents, organisers, etc) with the same love that Jesus has shown me. But you have to start somewhere, and I figure it may as well be with cake and beer.
(Oh, and no, this isn’t something I`d be doing anyway to get “beach body ready.” My skin cooks easier than salmon. It doesn’t get to see the sun.)
Want to get emails of the stuff that I write from now on? I`m aiming to post every Monday/Tuesday, so signup below and follow along for your weekly dose of grit, grace, and Japan.