Putting Out the Fire Before It Starts
I don’t know about anyone else but I hate CONTROVERSY!! Not that we have different opinions or take different sides on issues BUT because of the negativity it creates. It’s interesting because for those who have known me for a while know how negative I was. Always complaining. Some of you even called me out on it. When I realized Satan wanted us that way and it was the reason why I was soooo unhappy I have tried very hard to change that. But never have I seen the difference as I did this past week.
My beloved BYU Cougars were playing the University of Utah last week. We are called the”School down South” and they are the “School up North.” Trust me it gets ugly!! The schools are only 60 miles apart and have a huge rivalry for decades!! Usually the game happens in November around Thanksgiving. But due to Utah going to the Pac 12 and leaving the conference, things changed. This year the game was played in Sept. rather than November. Now we will not play them for another 3 years. And to make matters worse, we had lost the last three years to them. Most notably last year in a 54-10 loss.
Two weeks before the Utah game, BYU played the University of Texas Longhorns and DESTROYED THEM. (Sorry Longhorn fans!!) Two years ago BYU and Texas played and Texas won in the last couple of minutes by three points. For two years I heard about the game and had my nose rubbed in it. So when BYU won this year 40-21 I like everyone else thought, “Bring on Utah!!”
Well guess what? MY COUGARS LOST!!! Booo!! I knew come Sunday morning I was going to get slammed and bashed by my Ute Friends. I deserved it and I was bracing for it. Earlier in the week (I will admit it) I began to stir the pot!! I put a graphic on my wall (see below). So I deserved what was coming to me.
But an interesting thing happened. While deciding if I was going to run and hide for the next few weeks, a thought came to me. Stand up and face it Laura!! But not with controversy but with LOVE!!! And so instead I put a note that said something like “Congrats to my Utah Friends….Good game last night!!” Then I waited. For what? All the name bashing!!!
Guess what? There was none! Not one!!! It has now been a week and still none. I have thought about this all week and learned a big lesson from it. The more you fuel the fire the more it will grow. Depending on the type of fire it is depends on the different methods to distinguish it right? So that is exactly what I did and didn’t even know it!!!
So for me I approached this incident with love and peace rather than let everyone else add their fuel, stir the pot, and watch it grow out of control.For me it was a testament of how we can all have differences and be on different sides of the fence. BUT that doesn’t mean we still can’t find a common ground and have respect for one another. There is no place for disrespect or meanness in our society. I hear people say, “Yeah but it was all done in fun.” It doesn’t matter. We all have feelings and there are limits. I will admit I am very surprised and VERY PROUD of my Utah friends!!! Sadly, not as proud of some of the Cougar Fans.
After the game it was reported the student section threw trash at the refs and police as the REFS were being escorted off the field. WHY? Because they lost a game and didn’t agree with a call. That is no excuse for their actions. On a local news station site, there was a story about a football coach in Roosevelt, Utah who suspended his entire football team. WHY? Because there were academically failing,disrespectful attitudes and bullying problems. So in order to put the fire out before it spread too far and wide he took action. He suspended the entire team. The next morning there was another team meeting and they learned they would have to “earn” their way back to the team. A vote would be held to elect new captains. Players would perform acts of service for their families and document it. They would also take part in two days of community service in lieu of regular practices, attend a mandatory character-education class, a study hall session and memorize and recite a paragraph-long quote about the value of having good character. Finally, they had to pledge to be to all practices on time, to demonstrate respect for their teachers, fellow students and members of the community and to maintain their grades.
For these young men come Friday Night Homecoming I am pretty sure that game will mean more than a score in the end field. It will be about the lessons they have learned this week. That is how I felt with the BYU-Utah game. A win may give you bragging rights, but does not designate that one school or person is better than the other. And that is how I am going to look at life (or try to.)
On March 17, 1842 The Relief Society was founded in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Relief Society is one of the oldest and largest women organizations in the world. Tonight is our annual meeting and I will be watching it from home. The Relief Society was formed to “to organize, teach, and inspire His daughters and prepare them for the blessings of eternal life by helping them increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need.”[i]
I did not grow up knowing what my role as a woman was in this world. My options were the military or a factory job, no talk of wife or mother. When they were mentioned, it was done derogatorily. It just seems that if someone has a large family, it is acceptable in society to criticize them and make judgments against them. But as I have watched those around me who are mothers and grandmothers, I see a love that is so hard for me to comprehend but want. There have been small moments when I think I have caught glimpses of that love, but not a daily thing. And that is what I yearn for. And I think that is what happened with my comment on the BYU-Utah game. I simply sought it out with love because I hate controversy.
I have learned this week it all starts with US!! Not the Utah fan, not our mothers, or cousins, neighbors or family but US. Sometimes we have to be willing to step up and maybe take the heat and the backlash for doing what we feel we need to do. Just like the coach who suspended his team, he had no idea he would get the reaction he did from the parents, students, community and NATION! Yes nation!! On the scoreboard they did not win their Homecoming game against their component, but off the field they won a HUGE GAME!! The game of Life!! Same with me and my Utah friends!! We did not win the game on the scoreboard, but the game of life was a real winner. Guess what happens when the next UTAH-BYU game comes around….the sign I posted above is not going to be posted anymore by me. Instead I will find words of encouragement and respect and not stir that pot!! That is who I am striving to become. For one negative thing in life I encounter, I will strive to counteract it with something positive. Will it work every time? No, but at least I know I will do the best I can from my end. And that my friend is all we can do; is our best!! It doesn’t mean we will win, or come out first or lead the pack. It simply means we have done our best and that will be good enough for this round!
May we all strive to find that one negative thing and turn it into something positive this week!! My friend had a saying she was embroidering. It said, “The more you complain the longer God lets you live.” Ha ha Okay let’s get to work on those positive changes!! Have a great week….
Hugs and Loves Laura