After a training camp practice this past August, Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda addressed the team and challenged them to “embrace the grind.” It immediately became a rallying cry for a team that played until the last second of the 2012-13 NFL season, claiming the Super Bowl championship.
I watch a fair amount of football, Colts and Packers, particularly. I did not learn about the “embrace the grind” slogan from watching football on Sundays (or Thursdays or Saturdays or Mondays). I read about it from our Indiana United Methodist Bishop, Michael Coyner, in one of his recent “Epistles.” You can read it here if you want.
Whether we’re a football player, a bishop, a stay-at-home mom, a CPA in March or a director of student ministries, we all face “the grind” — the daily or weekly, but always on-going “stuff” that we do. The grind isn’t fashionable, sexy or profound. But it’s always before us. Generally, it consists of things we’d rather not do. But if we choose to ignore it or approach it haphazardly, we don’t get to move beyond the grind to the “wow” moments.
Case in point: Confirmation
Four years ago I started teaching confirmation at our church. It involves a lot of paperwork, phone calls, reminders, e-mails, studying, reminders, making copies, mailings, reminders – oh wait, did I already mention reminders?
Here in Indiana, we have an opportunity to take confirmands and mentors to the Bishop’s Confirmation Rally near Indy in March. Bishop’s. Confirmation. Rally. Yep, the name is not too exciting, which is really too bad because the day is great! Where else can you meet the bishop (a very welcoming, nice guy), hear John Wesley speak (okay, maaaaybe it was a John Wesley impersonator), hear a 14-year old (Gracie Schram) talk about being moved as a 10-year old (seriously) to use her talents to raise money for fish ponds in Africa, all while getting to better know those you traveled with?
In my first year of teaching confirmation, 2 out of 18 confirmands chose to go. Years 2 and 3 — zero. This year I pushed it harder than I ever have and enlisted the mentors’ help (involving more reminders). The reward for following through with the grind? Three confirmands and their mentors attended. That’s right — 6 total made the trip with me. (It would have been 8, but one broke his foot the day before, so he and his mentor hung out at home for the day.)
On our way home from the rally, I watched adults and students interacting effortlessly. I looked at a mentor sitting next to me and said, “This is one of the wow moments we get to experience after we’ve ’embraced the grind’ like Bishop Mike said.” She smiled and shook her head in agreement.
Which brings me to this blog. I often have an idea of something to write about here. But then I second-guess myself. Who would want to read it? And then I look at my to-do list for my two jobs and my life. And then…I realize it’s been two months since I shared a part of myself with you all.
I hope all who read these posts gain something from them, even if it’s a only a few minutes of rest. But I NEED to write. Writing helps me be a better person. For some reason, God connected writing with my ability to sort thoughts. Please don’t read that God made me a great writer – that’s not what I’m saying. I am saying the most effective way for me to process my emotions, thoughts and struggles is through paper and pen, or a keyboard.
But it’s hard to make the time to write. And it’s hard to share part of my life and then hit “publish.” It’s a grind. But out of the grind, I can potentially experience two WOW moments: 1. the contentment I feel after I’ve hit “publish,” and 2. when readers leave comments saying my writing touched where they were.
Am I willing to embrace the grind of regular writing to occasionally experience a wow moment? Hmmm… I need to say yes. Here’s to trying.
How about you? In what area of your life is the grind getting the best of you? Will you commit to “embrace the grind” with me?