Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: mission (page 1 of 2)

Who tells your story?

In case I didn’t shout it from the rooftops of social media enough, I married the best of husbands, best of men. He sent me to see Hamilton – I flew out the day after Christmas.

The number one question asked to me is, “was it worth it to see it live?” I mean, if you’ve listened to the soundtrack, you’ve heard 99% of the show. Nearly the entire thing is in song (as is Rent, my other favorite musical I sing to people ad nauseum).

The staging is fantastic and the movement of the choreography makes it worth the ticket price. There’s a hidden character that I’m grateful I read about before I went. The piece is so layered and brilliantly woven that,  as impossible as it seemed to me – having heard and dissected the themes hundreds of times before seeing it – I walked away with a better grasp of (one of) the true questions the story was out to reveal: Who tells your story?

It’s easy to sing, but watching Eliza walk across the stage and explain to the world that she chose to write herself back into the narrative broke me. She told his story, because of love.

Hamilton wanted to Live Big. “Don’t be surprised when you read about me in your history books.” His sense of limited time and limited life drove him to produce and work and drive and create and make change. In the words of 98% of pastors of today, he wanted to “make an impact”. The thought of his legacy drove him toward Bigness.

Yet.

The masses never truly told his story. Wall Street only speaks his name when the news crews are around covering a broadway play. Banks pay little tribute to him. The crowds rarely tell the story, the truest story, the story that captures your heart and not just your numbers.

But Eliza. Eliza. (Yes, I just sang that.) She tells his story. His writings, his soldiers. His heart.

We can do Great Things in this world. We can be World Changers. A Founding Father. A Global Economy Infrastructure Creator. All awesome, much needed. But that doesn’t give you your legacy.

Your love creates your legacy.

Hamilton was far from Perfect Husband (and the show is clear on that one), but he loved his wife and family. And that’s what I packed into my bag to bring home from NYC. You can do everything short of becoming President, and if you don’t love well, it’s not a great story. You can do big, great things for the masses, but if you can’t love the people under your roof, your story is mostly reduced to numbers.

Can I be real a second? Just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second? 

This is hard for me. In the thick of it – convincing toddlers to quietly go (back) to bed or teaching for the 8 millionth time to put things away and treat our things with respect – it seems petty. Miniscule. After the 78th time of interrupting my attempts to put dinner on the table to intervene in a nerf gun war gone awry, I’d much rather turn my attention to the bigger battles of society. Truthfully, I feel like I might make more progress dismantling the patriarchy than my feeble attempts to keep a floor without socks strewn about everywhere. (WHO is wearing all these socks?!)

At the end of my days, even if I manage to cure world hunger, the millions of people fed won’t have my story. It will be told by those who I tuck in each night and by the one who always checks to make sure nothing is in the washing machine. The people who share my table and the deep center of my heart – they will tell my story.

Hamilton convinced me to fill the pages with material for them to tell the best story possible.

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Just know this

Every parent wants goodness for their children, even if we’re all a tad misguided as to what those good things might be. Lately I’ve been trying to focus in on a few key things. If I could make sure my children know these things before they leave my home, I feel like I’ve set them up for a relatively successful life.

Of course, I also hope they know how to do their own laundry, pump their own gas, choose a perfectly ripened avocado, and settle into a rainy day with a good book. And balance a checkbook. And write a thank you note. In terms of skills, I could go on and on.

But what I’ve really be considering is what I want them to know. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. You are loved simply by virtue of being born. It’s not earned by good behavior, skills, knowledge or virtue. You don’t have to work at being loved and no amount of poor behavior changes my love. (Some elements of our relationship will change based on behavior, but my love is not one of them.)
  2. The difference between a want and a need. This may be the key to unlocking true contentment. Things and stuff are not bad, but if you cannot separate what you want from what you need, you will likely be controlled by your stuff and things and a constant sense of yearning that will never be fulfilled.
  3. No one is out to get you. Truly, though you are loved and even sometimes talked about, no one is giving you as much thought as you are giving you. Coaches, parents, bosses and teachers make decisions based upon the good of the whole group, not necessarily with you as the center. That being said, you can expect a certain level of human decency and a fair amount of equal spotlight from the people helping you to grow into a better human. They do see you. They’re simply not ordering everything around you.  (Nor should they.)
    Also, I did not get up in the middle of the night and move your shoes. Neither did your siblings. Stop shifting the blame of your poor memory and habits onto other people.

These are my starting points. I think there might be more, but I’d love to be influenced.

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Hope from the Sidelines

Part of our reintegration process includes our family’s adaptation to the life of jr. high football. After spending many years away from coaching, JJ has been reunited with his first love, Todd, (who has been coaching here from the time before JJ began in 2003) and his favorite game. The daily practices and weekly games mean JJ puts in long days, which translates in my own experience of sole parenting for the bulk of the week. Needless to say, I’ve been watching for any signs of fatigue or frustration that I can capitalize on before he signs up for another year. Because I’m thoughtful and considerate and thinking of everyone’s best interests, of course.

So on Tuesday, following quite a debacle of a 7th grade jr. high game, we hosted the 3 coaches for pizza and films. I finally got an ear to their conversations. The outcome of the game was so frustrating it was nearly comical to the men in my kitchen. They watched the key points of the film and began talking strategy.

Unfortunately for the younger of the teams, they haven’t had a lot of wins this year. I heard the conversation begin to change focus on what would keep these boys continuing to come out for football in the future. The coaches verbalized a hope that the boys wouldn’t give up on the game, despite the losses.

At that point, I knew I was loosing a battle for the 3-5 p.m. time slot in August through October. I’m doomed to become a football widow forever and ever, amen.

None of the men in my living room eating pizza and laughing at big hits of the night could necessarily see it, but I did. I could sense the presence of hope living in these jocks.

I asked JJ later, just to confirm my theory, why they wanted kids to keep coming out for the team, even if perhaps the boys aren’t that good. Why even worry about those on the bench? Why the big push to keep a love of the game? (I may have been asking with a slight devil’s advocate prerogative.)

IMG_2427Of course, the coaches love the game of football. Of course, they have some allegiance to their alma mater. Of course they want to see a better program at the higher level. And of course they enjoy the kids and want them to have an experience that makes them better players and instills a passion for the game. Of course. By definition, that’s what coaches do.

If you dig around in the hearts of coaches – at least, the three in my living room – I believe there’s something bigger at play. (I believe there always is.) Something that keeps them on the field at all hours and in extreme temperatures. Something that makes it worth enduring parental phone calls and school politics. Something that keeps them from wives and children during prime hours of the day. And let me tell you from experience, it’s not the money.

I have a hunch that these men want to create a positive football experience for all these kids because deep down they know these kids aren’t done yet. The kids haven’t reached the fullest expression of their potential – both on and off the field.  The coaches know there’s more inside each kid. The eight games of 7th grade football cannot be the barometer of which these boys forecast their lives. 

And where does such hope come from? How do we reach the understanding that no one is finished at 13?  For at least one of the coaches, I believe it comes from understanding God is never done with us. It comes paired with an experience that God hasn’t given up despite some lackluster performances. And no matter the score, God wants us to continue showing up and getting better.

God’s not done with you, so please, please, young guy, don’t be done with you. Don’t measure your worth on this one experience. Give yourself the gift of another chance. And another. And another.

So we, in this house, will give you the gift of a guy who believes you’re worth it. He believes that every player has something to offer, not just on the field but to the world. And not just today but tomorrow as well. I guess, as a family, we’re just as invested in this thing called Hope.

Go Rams.

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