Saturday, August 9, 2014

Letters, August 8

Dear Ethan Lapp,
What I've loved about you at the start of this tennis season is that you consistently play consistent tennis. In high school, that's going to win you a whole bunch of matches. And you've already started to experience that in practice. We've been talking in devotionals about what everyone can give to the team, and I don't think you probably realize how much a consistent tennis player like yourself is giving to the team. Everyone who plays you is going to get better because they have to hit so many balls. From the best player on the team to the bottom, everyone benefits from hitting with you. And I haven't even mentioned how your personality is appreciated. Your outward expression is the perfect example of our prayer - "Let our ever present calm be evident." All in all you are a steadying and much appreciated member of the team. Thanks for sharing it this first week.

Dear Jacob Gonsalves,
Wow! How much better you've gotten this year. I mean, when you hit those devastating forehands into my backhand corner, I can hardly return them. Throughout the offseason, you've worked on the right things (especially getting your serve in) that allow you to now be competitive in matches with the varsity and high level players. Now I love to have you play with them. Your groundstrokes are certainly at a varsity level. And I loved your answer in devotional time the other day, as I asked what people could share with the team. Most people were taking the true but easier answer of being encouraging, and you shared that you could lend your gentleness to the team. What an overlooked gift gentleness is. I can see that in you as well. Thanks for sharing it!

Dear Daniel Robles,
I can say much the same thing to you as to Jacob. You've continued to improve this year. Your crosscourt rally skills the other day were impressive as I counted a 30 stroke forehand rally with Coach Daniel. But again, more impressive to was what you did outside of tennis. More impressive was what you did relationally. When we picked teams to play Defenders on Thursday, you picked several players with your first picks who often get picked with everyones last pick. That takes awareness and compassion. I love to see that in my tennis brothers. Thank you for thinking of that. And the beautiful thing. . . your team won! Daniel, I appreciate you so much. Thank you for sharing with the team this week.

Dear Team,
Part of this week we talked about fears and wounds. My greatest fear is what others might think of me. I can often be influenced not by what is right for the team, but by the things that those around me want. I make mistakes because of this. I still remember two of my biggest mistakes as a coach came from this fear and weakness. I remember challenging a Bremen player and coach about line calls because my number 1 player was so upset and wanted me to, so I ignored the protocol and was out of line. I still cringe when I think about that. However, I thank you guys for being mature enough to give us a place to talk about these fears and struggles. It is when we deal with the bad together that we really become family.

Dear Jesus,
You are the center. You are the healer. If we have been afraid, angry, ashamed, deceitful, or despairing - our only true wholeness comes from Your hand. I think about the compassion that You had on the widow coming out of the city of Nain in Luke 7. Splagchnon: feeling what she was feeling right down into Your guts. I am thankful that you have that same intense compassion, intense empathy for us as well. You are close to us, our Philippians verse says. You are feeling for us. You can bring us back to wholeness. If our every breath is gratitude, let it be in gratitude to You.

Dear God,
What prayer can I really have? It has been a blessed first week. May we rejoice in You! May we continued to have our hearts, souls, mind and strengths conformed to Your will and desires. Amen.

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