Tonight at a Chanukah party (I know. Chanukah was over at sunset on Saturday but the hostess wanted to have a Chanukah party anyway. At least this group actually knew the blessings-even if it wasn’t necessary to recite any blessing because it wasn’t really Chanukah.) I watched the Dallas/New Orléans football game. I haven’t watched a pro football game in many years. I am a college football fan. Because rarely in pro football are there many mistakes. College football has many more unknown factors because of the age and experience of the players. There is a greater degree of human error in College football that seems more real to me.
One of my former Bar Mitzvah students who is now in his sophomore year at Indiana University (and the son of the non-Chanukah Chanukah party hostess) told me that the Saints were very good this year. They were undefeated when they went into the game. But they lost tonight to the Dallas Cowboys. Thus their season so far is 13-1. Still playoff bound but their potentially untarnished season now has a mark against them. Leaving the Indiana Colts as the only undefeated team in the NFL at 14-0.
This might seem like a terrible thing. And perhaps in the multi-million dollar world of professional football an imperfect record is just that, a terrible thing. But in the game of life it is unrealistic. All of us have imperfections. It is part of being human. And we strive all of our lives to heal, correct, purify and overcome our human frailties. We are successful in some cases only after years of therapy or 12-step meetings. And sometimes we repeat over and over the behaviors and actions that keep us from achieving our full potential. Maybe we’re lazy. Maybe we’re not so street smart. Maybe we don’t dream big enough. But that is our human challenge.
In the case of the New Orléans Saints-perhaps they were just tired tonight. After all Saturday night football isn’t the usual slot. Sunday football, even Monday night football are more familiar turf. In fact this year, Saturday night games are referred to Thursday Night Football Special Edition! How is that for silliness and imperfection.
But the Saints still have the chance to keep marching forward through the playoffs toward glory. Even with a one game loss. And the beauty of imperfection in this case and in the human realm is that we can learn from our mistakes and our missteps. If we don’t that is the real sin.
So keep rolling Saints. Roll toward the playoffs. Don’t let one loss drag you down. So too each of us should remember no to let your imperfections, your errors or missteps drag you down. Remember we are just human beings, learning and growing with every passing day. This is part of our potential as human beings to transform ourselves and live a life of spiritual fullness even as we recognize our imperfections!