I love playing volleyball. It is fun and I get a rush when I get the ball back over the net . . . and that right there will give you a clue about my level of play. While I was voted most valuable player on the C squad as a sophomore in high school, I’m pretty sure that’s where my ability peaked.
Fast-forward three decades and here I am a sub for a volleyball team some of my friends play on. This means I play about twice a year and when I do its spur of the moment. Recently, as my friends and I were driving to the match they shared that their team had moved up a league and I thought my best option was to jump out of the moving car. I was way more comfortable in the league where there were other players like me who were about 30% of the time getting the ball across the net on serves. All those shame gremlins started having a heyday in my mind!
We get on the court and I had to ask my friend which lines on the floor were for the volleyball court and which were the basketball court! My thoughts oscillated between, “Oh Lord, please don’t let the ball come to me.” “please let me get this serve across the net.” and “I don’t want to be the reason we lose.” I hoped the opposing team didn’t start spiking the ball at me because I had been identified as the weak link.
I loved it. I hated it. Even though my serving record hit a dismissal low I’m really glad I did it. And I think that is what vulnerability feels like - we are exposed for all the world to see that we aren’t perfect, that we are struggling, that we aren’t the best in the room, and that there is failure and misses and bumps that go the wrong way. Others may even laugh; it can be a cruel world.
But I have no regrets, I showed up and gave it my all. I’ve still got my hustle; I still will go after the ball and call out "mine."
Dr. Brené Brown has written about how we expect children to try new things all the time but as adults we get comfortable doing what we are good at and being content to stay there. I always think a whole boat load of empathy would be added to kids sluggin' through their homework if we as parents sat down next to them and relearned our Spanish verbs from college (the kids could prepare tests for us!)
So, I'd better model for my kids what I want to see in them . . . that means I'll head back onto the court the next opportunity I get . . . and pray no one figures out I'm the weak link!
What court is calling you?