Fall continues its journey into winter and we as fans, and family to an Iowa football player, continue to ride the waves of this season as it enters its final stages. Eight games done with 4 left to play and so much yet left undecided and so much yet to play for. And thus far it has been a bit rough, certainly not what we had hoped for or anticipated. At 5-3 with two Big Ten losses, it would require the Hawks to win out and get some help for them to win the West again. And the road ahead is far from easy over the next 2 weeks and after.
Up first this week is a road trip to Happy Valley to play Penn State, who is 5-0 at home this season, have won 11 of the last 12 home games, and just beat then 2nd ranked OSU a week ago. On top of all of that this is a "White Out" night game with a nationally televised audience. Piece of cake right? Then back home to face what is currently the 2nd ranked team in the country in a red-hot Michigan. No sense looking any further as those two weeks will define the season pretty well by themselves.
And what a great opportunity these games are. A couple of hard fought victories puts us in a place where the remaining November games will still matter, which is what all players and coaches always want for their season. So time will tell and we will be there to see it all up close and personal.
Again, being in this situation at this point in the season, while it always was a possibility, is not what the Hawks had as a vision for their season. But that is the stuff of life isn't it? The painful truth that while we may often have a vision for our lives, see clearly how we want things to go, and even believe deeply in that vision as to how things will turn out, it does not always work out that way. Despite that vision, the committed belief, and even the hard work to make it all become a reality, sometimes things just do not turn out as we want. Then what? What happens when vision meets reality and we suddenly find ourselves living out a reality we did not envision and did not see coming?
Well first we have to find a way to adjust to that reality. Not so much necessarily to permanently accept the altered reality (that may come later) but to step back, get our feet set again, find our bearings, and try to see where we are at as clearly as possible. Then figure out how we got there and where we go from there.
And this is where I at least find the rub sometimes. We are told to keep working hard, keep believing, to never give up, keep fighting, etc. And we hear story after story about folks who do just that and despite all the odds stacked against them they do make it, they reach their goals, the vision becomes a reality. And that is a great thing when it happens. But it does not always happen. So a couple of thoughts about that.
Process over outcomes - Sometimes in our lives the ultimate outcome doesn't matter. Obviously in some things outcomes are the ultimate bottom line; football teams, winning conference championships, and even possibly the World Series (GO CUBS! : ). But in other things , while it would be great to achieve those goals and to make our vision become our reality, the process of living out our vision, of believing deeply in that vision, and spending our lives each day working to make that vision become our reality, is the most important thing. Engaging in the journey in a way that gives our lives meaning, gives us purpose, and fulfills us, that is what is important. How we live our life each day, how we walk the path, that matters. And when we do that with honesty and integrity, committed to our vision, with a respect and honor for the process and people involved, all is well and the results will as they say, take care of themselves.
Psychosis v committed - Then there are those of us who have visions that are costly and difficult to pursue, but yet we continue on and on and on. Eventually those around us wonder if we are zealously committed and passionate toward a vision, courageous and fighting to overcome all obstacles before us, or is it something else? In the face of set back and failure, at great cost and sacrifice, the fact we continue on at times is viewed in less than a positive light. When is it time to give up on something, to move on, re-set and find a new vision, and seek out a new reality for ourselves? Are we giving up, or just being realistic?
Just for the record, and so you know where I stand on all of this, I am not much for "realistic" (and that does have some costs!). But each of us needs to find our own way. I do believe in creative genius, in individuals who dream, in walking into the unknown, jumping off the edge, taking risks, chasing ghosts, overcoming our fears, and dreaming big. I also honor and respect those who are steady, consistent, and stay with a life they have chosen, that is all good as well. Sorting through all of this requires some balance, patience, and hopefully clear vision. But again, what that is for each of us is unique, different, and of course up to us. That is an unbelievable gift that each of us have before us, how we will live our lives and what dreams we will chase.
And isn't that one of the things that makes life so wonderful.
Here is to a week of clear vision, deep courage, and fearless commitment. GO HAWKS!