Well, Ireland’s chances in Euro 2012 are over, yet still a few green, white and gold flagpoles, car mirror covers and window flags are proudly displayed around the city and suburbs. During the games everyone rushed to hang their teams colours from every window sill, car window and roof top. I even saw houses fully cloaked in Irish flags or other Euro colours of their choice. I loved it. And even now when a team flag catches my eye I smile. Why? Well because it screams support. It shows commitment and dedication to a cause, all be it over! It shows the desire to stand by your team when they need it the most. And the whole world took note of the fact that although Ireland were losing and failing to qualify further, still those Irish fans in Poland sang even louder in prideful support of their lads in green on the field. So much so that the lyrics of ‘The Fields of Athenry” were posted on the front page of a Polish newspaper. When the colours we support are floundering in failure and disappointment surely that is the time they need our voices, flags, and belief in them so much more.
They say that a true and loyal fan is proven most, when they stick by their team even when failure looms and all chances of winning are gone. That’s a true fan in my book! Why wait until a team is doing well in order to show our support? It seems very easy to me to support a winning team, but true bravery and commitment are revealed by the fan who sticks by his colours when they have lost the fight. When their motivation and determination drop shouldn’t we come alongside them and stand shoulder to shoulder even more? I say a heartfelt “YES!” Supporting your team is a lot like a relationship, friendship or marriage. When it gets tough and the temptation to give up overwhelms them shouldn’t we hang those colours even higher? Wave those flags even harder? Shout those anthems even louder? Love them even deeper? Hold them even closer? For surely that’s when they need us even more. Who knows but one day it could be us needing them. When the wind and rain beat against their face; when the cold icy fear of failure torments them and when all is lost and life is crazy, shouldn’t we be the unconditional love and side line coach that screams their name out loud and says I’m WITH YOU and I believe in you? It reminds me of God’s heart towards us. As a Coach, He faithfully stands on the side lines of our lives screaming our names and reminding us of the truth that He is with us. Never will He leave us. He wore the colour red for us. His team won us over. That makes us winners too! Whoever you are…do you need to hear someone calling out your name and wearing your colours? Or do you need to reach out to someone you know and call their name? Maybe they need to hear you say you’re with them and believe in them? Goodness knows it could even be your own dear heart that needs your own acceptance and support. It is more blessed to give than to receive but as you give to others it will return to you a hundred fold. So grab that flag and hang it up through all the seasons of winning or losing. Your support makes the difference. Your love brings comfort to someone who has forgotten what it is like to have a supporter. That person who is failing and afraid needs to know you will never give up on them.
Is that person who feels like a failure today, the one who looks back at you when you look in the mirror? Then please be reminded that you have the Almighty Coach, and He thinks you are amazing. No matter how tired, worn out or confused you feel today, He is shouting your name at the top of His voice. He is cheering you on from the side lines. He knows your name and exactly where you are. Listen, and you will hear His voice telling you to get back up and wave that flag! He sees your true colours, He sees you as a winner!
I read a caption written underneath the American flag the other day…it read;
” These colours don’t run!” and my heart echoed in agreement! The courageous don’t run either…be a Faithful Flag-Bearer! Someone on your team needs you!
Okay, I admit it, as I write this short story I am unashamedly nibbling away on a “Rocky Road Biscuit Brownie”, purchased today at a gorgeous health food/home food bakery store. I am guilty as charged for falling for the overwhelming temptation of a dark chocolate, marshmallow & biscuit temptation. As I was out on my morning run, I succumbed to its alluring ways…and moments later it sat in my running bag as my après-running treat! And hours later, that’s just what it is. However, let me add, it is accompanied by a strong and hot cup of organic Chinese green tea; so all is good! As I munched this delicious treat, I mused to myself at its interesting name.
I decided that really the only “Rocky Roads” we want in life, are of the chocolate variety (for me the dark chocolate) but if only life was as simple as a chocolate “Rocky Road”. For many of us it is paved with seasons of “rockiness”, when we would much rather a smooth surface!
“Rocky Road” started as a flavour of ice cream; described as that hard-to-resist combination of chocolate ice cream laced with chunks of nuts and marshmallows. William Dreyer came up with this cleverly named ice cream flavour way back in 1929, and it was, and still is, a best seller. Its popularity is probably why the chocolate-nut-marshmallow combination is now found in so many desserts too.
So, when you saw that the title of my story was “Rocky Road”, what did you think of? Was your first thought of a chocolate/marshmallow tray-bake combination or were you far more concerned with the “Rocky Road” that your life may be right now? Do you dream of days where there are less obstacles and far more blessings? If you do, then you are not alone. I promise!
May I interject with some raw honesty? As I sat writing this blog today, right at this moment my thoughts have been completely thrown asunder by the news of the death of a dear friend. We knew he was ill but never thought that he would leave us. So strikingly ironic that I should be writing about the “Rocky Roads” of life and then receive this news. Somehow it impacts the next part of my story even deeper. When life is rocky, we have a Master Helper who comes alongside us to carry our load. When our hearts ache for those we love, He gently wraps His great arms of compassion around us and helps us trust Him through the tears. When life falls apart at the seams, He somehow weaves the tapestry of His design and allows us to see just enough so as to have hope, even one day at a time.
And today as we grieve the loss of an amazing brother and friend Joseph Fitzgerald, we can know that though this road is rocky, and hard to understand there is a faithful God who sees our hearts and cares about our loss. Jesus wept remember!
So I guess all I can say is whatever season you are in, whether life is rocky or smooth, make sure you have the Master Weaver as your friend, for then no matter what the road may hold for you, there will always be a road map to look to and trust in. All I know at times is that “GOD KNOWS”, these are often the final words whispered from my tired lips as I close my eyes to sleep each night. And He does know!
Within a week of each other, two of my friends have gone home to Heaven far sooner than any of us would have thought possible. Both of them incredibly talented musically and vocally, in abundance! And as another dear friend (John Edwards) said today, “Now promoted to the choirs of Heaven…” That is a beautiful thought John!
But it’s hard today to grasp that we are saying goodbye to another gifted friend. Our loss is Heaven’s gain it is true, but what a wake-up call to make our lives count!
Forgive, love, live, laugh and make a difference; for none of us know what tomorrow holds! If you love someone let them know. Carpe Diem…SEIZE THE DAY!
Make things right with God and each other! Remember in Luke 24 v 32, ‘They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’ ~ There is a Friend walking this “Rocky Road” with you, and that Friend is Jesus. Listen, He is speaking softly to your heart, as you walk along this road.
You may actually make someone’s “Rocky Road” a little bit more bearable simply by the love you share and the encouragement you give!
Oh I am also leaving you with the “Rocky Road” recipe. Make a tray-bake and share it with someone who needs some kindness on the rocky road of life…..