Whose Team Are You On?

Sarah is 14, and she is a free-thinking prodigy. She questions the negative rap on Benedict Arnold: Could the traitor from the American Revolution be misrepresented by history? She has doubts about the greatness of Andrew Jackson because he violated a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court when he exiled the Cherokee; the Trail of Tears began at the desk of law-breaking President Jackson. When I tried to tell Sarah about Alfred Nobel’s premature obituary and why he founded the Nobel Prize, she interrupted me and finished the story. How rude! I’ll cut her a little slack because she is my goddaughter.

In spite of my high esteem for her, even I was surprised when Sarah showed me her journal. She takes notes in Middle Earth runes from J.R.R. Tolkein. We are both ardent to see Tolkein’s The Hobbit this fall. (I was going to write “stoked,” but Sarah will be more impressed that I wrote “ardent.”) Given Sarah’s skills with runes, maybe she should write a letter to Bilbo Baggins to warn him about the trolls…so that he is not squished into jelly.

If you look closely at her photo, you can see me in the mirror. I did not intend to include myself in the picture, but there I am. I am a bit player in the life of Sarah. I am not the Producer. I am not the Director. I have nothing to do with the script. Because Sarah lives in Florida, and I in California, I do not appear in many scenes in her life. And yet—I matter.

God says that we belong to each other. Paul wrote that we “are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). You and I are changing the lives of everyone we touch. I can strengthen Sarah’s life…or weaken it. I may not learn her Hobbit writing, but as I support Sarah, God will provide for me. I am on Sarah’s team, and God is our coach. Whose team are you on?


About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Church, Hypertext: words that point up and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Whose Team Are You On?

  1. Stephan Koch says:

    HA! we used to send notes in college all in runes. Speaking of college, I think you might have been my teacher for Phonetics and Linguistics? It’s been twenty years but due to the advent of facebook I’m able to re-explore my college days through the memories of my floor-mates at Moody. Are you the one?

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