“Okay, What’s Next?”

Folks who know me know that I care nothing really about sports. I don’t show favoritism, I am equally uninterested in them all. I rarely attend sporting events, watching them on TV makes me want to pluck all my eyebrows out, and talking about sports seems to be a waste of precious breath. I’m not anti-sports, though. It doesn’t bother me at all if sports are your thing, and I do think there are some positives from the whole endeavor. I just usually avoid participation.

So you may find this blog a bit out of character at first.

I woke up this morning, checked my Facebook to get my news and there it was. Two of my friends from Charlotte had posted that the Carolina Panthers had let 16-year kicker, John Kasay, go. I was a little surprised.

So why would I care about this? How would I even know, as a self proclaimed non-sports fan, who the kicker for the Panther’s is? As most of you know, my family lived in Charlotte for eleven years and while there, I came the closest to being a sports fan as I ever have.

Charlotte loves the Panthers. It helps one become a fan when Charlotte’s favorite kicker goes to your church. It’s a little easy to get caught up in the football frenzy when on game Sundays everyone shows up to church in the their Panther jerseys, and the pastor makes sure he’s done with his preaching in time to let everyone out to see the game.

In a society where people like Ke$ha (Seriously? She has a dollar sign in her name?) and Kenye West are elevated and revered by young people its kind of sad to see someone who is really worthy of admiration leave the public stage. I suppose it’s possible for John Kasay to move on and play for another team, but at forty-one years old that might be a challenge.

The Panther’s kicker would sometimes speak at our church during the off season and, in spite of the fame and wealth professional football brought them, the Kasays seemed to value the things my family does. It was well known that John was not shy about sharing his faith among his teammates, and that he was a positive influence on and off the field. I worked with his wife, Laura, once on a large women’s event and learned that while their bank account might have looked fuller than mine, she shared the same concerns for her four kids as I did for my four.

I remember a time that my oldest son got to use John’s tickets and parking space for a Panther’s game. John had offered his tickets to one of the pastor’s at church and he had chosen to take a few young guys to the game. They drove to John’s house, picked up the tickets and went to the game. Getting out of the car parked in John Kasay’s spot was so fun for those kids.

There are a lot of folks who are learning, like the Kasay’s, what it feels like to be “let go” from jobs they’ve held for years. My family is no exception to that. It feels quite like life’s rug has been pulled out from under you. It’s more than the money lost, although there is that. It’s the feeling that you somehow were not valued enough to hang on to. That what you brought to the table wasn’t valuable enough to keep you there. That feeling is far worse than the income loss.

It’s then, while you are dangling there in mid air, that you have to look around and decide where and how you will land.

It really is quite a critical time. Where you land will often decide where you will go next and how you will fair in the meantime. It’s then that who you are and whose you are become really important. When you are a child of the Most High, then you know that whatever comes, you are valued and you matter. Holding bitterness and harboring ill will toward those who did not value you will not serve you well. It’s only natural to be hurt or offended, but allowing yourself to stay in that frame of mind will only delay what God, as your Provider, has in store for you. So how you land matters as well.

I don’t know where the Kasays will land, but I am willing to bet their faith has been kicked (no pun intended) up a notch and maybe, just maybe as my husband suggested this morning, a new ministry will be born. I know this much, as long as we still have breath in our lungs, God’s plan for us here is not complete. When we come to the end of one experience, it’s time to look to the Father and say, “Okay, what’s next?”

So what do you think?

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