I love the title of Lemony Snicket’s book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Honestly, I even liked the wacky movie that was made based off the books. Sometime in life a series of bad things can happen to us over which we have no control. Then again, sometimes a series of bad things can happen because we have failed to take control and lead things a different direction.
Last night I sat and watched the end of a basketball dream. A town very close to us had a very good men’s basketball team this year. They had not lost a game … until last night. The team was up 5 points with a little over a minute to play. I thought the game was over. Then the other team fouled on purpose to stop the clock and try and get the ball back. The player went to the line and missed the front end of a one and one free throw situation. The other team took the ball and scored. The team with the lead proceeded to turn the ball over on two possessions. One resulted in a score and the other did not. Now it was a 1 point game with 3 seconds left when there was one more foul committed.
The player walked to the line and also missed the front end of a one and one. The opposing team rebounds the ball and one player shot the ball a little past half court. It was a long shot with a bad angle. Amazingly the ball hit the backboard and bounced in with no time left on the clock. The shot counted for three points and the undefeated team suddenly was defeated.
I hope you are following my story so far. After the game there was much discussion of that final minute as you can imagine. People blamed the loss on a bad call from the refs (and there was). People credited the team with a miracle shot (and it was). But for me the game was lost because of a long series of bad actions and decisions. Timeouts were used unwisely, the team quit giving the ball to their star player, free throws were missed, turnovers were made and the defense was very poor. In my opinion there was not one bad play that lost the game and there was not one great play that won it. There was a series of things that resulted in the loss.
Thinking about the events of the night and replaying everything in my mind lead me to remember a simple truth: Nothing is lost or won in one play. This is true for sports, but it is also true in life.
No marriage falls apart in a day. No child gets in trouble because of one bad day of parenting. No person walks away from faith because of one event. Bad things are rarely the result of one bad action.
Marriages fall apart because a couple stops saying “I love you.” They stop serving each other. They stop holding hands and going out together. Children struggle because they have no grounding in the faith. Their spiritual development is shortchanged for other activities. They do not receive the attention and love they need so they go looking somewhere else. Faith crumbles when people skip Church, stop reading their Bible and and spend less time with Christians.
Each step of life takes us on a path toward success or failure. It may be the final step that is remembered but it was a long journey that takes us there. Where is your journey leading you?