Have you ever met a Chicago Cubs fan? They’re diehard. There’s no stopping them. They’re cheering and you can’t convince them otherwise. They set the standard for what it looks like for a person to support an idea, a cause, a family, a group, someone other than themselves, no matter the outcome.
They won’t stop.
That doesn’t mean they don’t feel discouraged or disappointed from time to time when the Cubs lose a game or two or a thousand. Loss is hard. But, it isn’t always for the worst. In fact, over time, I’ve noticed something about those losses. I’ve noticed it’s the losses that reveal what’s really there. From loss, something emerges. And something is preserved and nurtured, in both the fans and the team. Hope. Commitment. The fans realize and rehearse and reaffirm their unyielding vision for what’s possible. The team, likewise, experiences an unquenchable partnership, an ongoing and long-haul expression of compassion and encouragement to go even just one more inning, even though and even when odds are dark. They experience true love in its purest form. Some would argue this kind of love shines best in the dark.
You know, I used to feel so discouraged, week after week, hearing how life got the best of you again and again, failure after failure and how, despite your best efforts, nothing seemed to go well for you. You missed the opportunity, couldn’t calm down, couldn’t cheer up, said the words or thought the thoughts, got trapped in the old patterns, maybe even caught a taste of hope but then got paralyzed by fear and shame in the same breath. This used to feel so disappointing to me. It’s hard for me to watch you lose week after week, once or twice or a thousand times. But then I realize both Cubs fans and therapists have a chance to tap into something sacred, something beyond money or insurance or trophies or medical models or bragging rights. It’s pure love. And nothing less. Because when you win. I win. When you lose. I lose.
Does your sense of victory and satisfaction seem untouchable, unattainable, too far beyond the horizon? When we swing one more time, we exercise and celebrate our human right and station, that essence inside of us that allows us to imagine and pursue and see and taste a life that has yet to be; to consider that desirable and distant future, yet allow it to penetrate the depth of our soul this present hour.
What’s our job together? We’re really in the business of hope.
So, when we meet next week, I might ask you about what went well. And you know, it doesn’t even matter if you won or lost. I’m just so glad and privileged we get to try on and enjoy and get generations of mileage out of this God-given gift of our I’m-here-with-you-and-will-be-here-every-time-simply-believing-the-best-is-yet-to-come kind of story and relationship. Because from this kind of place we can begin true healing. And growing. And then serving others with that same love we ourselves received. And that will change the world. It’s where the best futures come from.