I am terrible at watching hockey games and have difficulty focusing on important things like, say, hockey. Instead I see the diamond quilting in a bright red jacket in the bleachers in front of me.
And the little sign bearing a message which seems important, but I bet is often ignored.
And other non-hockey details (yes, it is the ceiling):
We drove up to a particular town in the middle-ish of Vermont yesterday for a season-opening high school hockey game. Here is how bad I am at being a hockey spectator: “our” team, the team for whom a particular teenage boy plays, a boy who happens to be important to us, scored a couple of times, and I completely missed it. Because I was looking at rusted out grommets and little paper signs and quilted jacket patterns.
Earlier when we funneled into the ice rink with the rest of the crowd, the message on this little sign posted at the entrance, a sign everybody seemed to file past without so much as a glance, that message gobsmacked me right in the noodle, and felt somehow so relevant, a mandate for good behavior during the holidays, and really in general, because adults need to be reminded, too.
Whether we successfully beat down the big box doors to score the perfect present and wrap and ship it on time for Christmas feels irrelevant. The urgency around all that can’t justify bad behavior when you’re standing in a long queue, waiting on a weary customer, or driving through a congested intersection.
It is easy to lose sight of what is important any time, like during varsity hockey games. I’m guilty of missing things that are going on right now because I’m obssessing over some other thing. Like weird, shiny insulation on the ceiling of an ice arena.
It is the second sunday in Advent, the season for reflection and preparation; it possesses its own beauty, unlike the celebratory season that is Christmas. It is introspective, at least for me. But when the rest of the world wants to whack you in the frontal lobes with its own version of what is important, you have to scratch and claw your way to find that beauty.
I did find some reflection and beauty yesterday, here:
The boys on the team seemed distracted last night; they did not play well and in the end were beaten badly. Earlier yesterday I was reminded of a favorite George Balanchine quote, something he once said to his dancers, but might have said to the hockey players, as Handsome Chef Boyfriend wisely observed:
Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for? Another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now.
I leave you with this simple Advent reflection of my own design, two smooshed-together and partially stolen ideas: be kind, and stay focused on what is important right now.