Out Of Position

Adam has his first rugby match for his new school tomorrow. I don’t know who is more excited. Me or him. I was an incredibly average grammar school player back in the day so any allegations that I am reliving my school years through my son are sadly very accurate. The fact that he has more skill, strength and stamina in his little finger than I had in my entire pudgy teenage body is also sadly accurate.

He has been training hard with his new coaches since mid-August but was disappointed earlier this week when the team was announced. He had been selected to play but not in his favoured position of Number Eight. Instead he is to play at tight head prop; an equally important position but not the one he had been hoping for. His coach explained that as it was the first match they were still experimenting with positions and it would only be a temporary measure.

Since then Adam has knuckled down to his new role with great determination in order to learn his new position in time for the big kick off. He has displayed great adaptability and has sacrificed his own personal preference for the sake of the team. He hasn’t sulked. He hasn’t thrown a temper tantrum. He has just put his head down and got on with it. 


It has made me think back to the many years I spent putting myself in front of my family. When I sulked if the Saturday shopping list did not include a case of beer even when money was tight and Fionnuala was struggling to make ends meet. When I was too hungover on a Sunday to spend any time with the kids, snapping at their reasonable requests. When I was more interested in my Twitter followers than the people who truly mattered.

I rarely wanted to adapt to the needs of others. My own selfish desires always dominated the agenda. I had to be the centre of attention and woe betide anyone who thought otherwise. I could sulk for Ireland. If there were medals to be given out for self-centredness then my trophy cabinet would haven been overflowing. I was wired to put Stephen first. Every time.

I have walked a long, hard road since those days. Many rough edges have been knocked off me. I have been left battered and bruised. I have looked in the mirror of truth and seen the weak, selfish man I had become. And I am trying so hard now to put things right, to make amends, to repair and rebuild. I seek to learn from my faith. I seek to learn from my wife and my kids. I want to be a better person more than anything else.

And if that means playing out of position now and again then so be it. The least I can do is put the people I love first given the many times they did so for me even when I deserved to be kicked to the kerb. Win, lose or draw tomorrow I will be proud of Adam as I watch from the touchline. He might be playing me out of position but he, as do all my family, has pole position in my thankful heart.

How do you control your selfish urges?

Are you willing to ‘play out of position for your loved one?

11 thoughts on “Out Of Position

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  1. What a great post, Stephen! You bring up some important things to think about.

    I’m a selfish person. Really, I am. I didn’t realize how selfish until I got married. The first month of our marriage was a rough one because my husband and I are both very independent and stubborn people who do what we want, when we want to. It took some tense moments for us to realize that things had to change and we had to learn what marriage was about. By the grace of God, we did. Even after seven years of marriage, sometimes I’ll still want to lash out in a selfish way. But then I can hear the Lord telling me to honor my husband and I calm down.

    “Playing out of position” is a tough one for me. As my husband and I are both pharmacists, we’re well-educated with doctorate degrees and work at a nationally renowned medical facility, him in the emergency department, me in the children’s hospital. Well, I used to. Being ill has kept me out of work for over a year and it’s been hard for me to swallow. Six years of university education, a doctorate degree…and I sit at home with the cats while David earns all our money. We used to be paid pretty much equally and we would eagerly await our tax documents every year to see who’d been the breadwinner that year! 😂 (One year I won by a single overtime shift, haha.)

    But now…I don’t even really have a position. I’ve decided I want to be a stay-at-home mom, but that’s difficult to do when you don’t have kids.

    Sorry I blabbed on for so long…lots of thinking from this post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is much you can still offer. My wife had to give up her job too as we could not manage two full time jobs. I know she finds frustrating at times as well but it really is a team effort. The work she does at home is just as important, if not more so, than what I accomplish in the office. Never undervalue yourself. God has placed you where you are for a purpose. You are out of position but still very much in the game. 😊

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  2. It’s always such a delight to read your words, really! And you always make me smile a couple of times, thank you for that. I actually believe that being selfish is something wonderful and necessary – who should we put first if not ourselves ? – but not in the same way most people understand being selfish. I learned that when I’m connected with God, the Universe and myself I’m very kind and helpful and do a lot for others. But I do it because I want to, because my heart tells me to; so it’s an act of selfishness in a way that I follow my heart’s wishes. This way I also don’t get into the (for me quite familiar) conflict of doing something “just for others” and then having expectations in them. When I’m – on the other hand – driven by my ego and thoughts I am indeed very selfish (as the word is commonly used) and I don’t treat my beloved ones (or strangers) as they deserve it…It happens, but I’m trying my very best to dissolve those patterns of behaviour. Thank you for making me reflect. I wish you a great weekend

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  3. Insightful as always, Stephen. I know the feeling of biting off your loved one’s heads over reasonable requests all too well. I also know what it’s like to be selfish. Lately, that’s about all I’ve been able to think about. Myself. Some of it is necessary, but some it is just dwelling. Maybe you’re right. Perhaps I should play out of my comfort zone, it’s been too long since I stepped into that ring. Thanks for writing this up. And tell Adam he sounds like he’ll grow up to be quite a stellar young man if he keeps his positive attitude up!

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    1. Yeah Ryan he will hopefully. We all have the selfish gene. It’s just part of the human condition. I believe you can only grow and develop if you take a chance and step out in faith. Don’t let others hold you back. Be the man you were born to be.

      Liked by 1 person

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