30 March, 2014

My unusual afternoon

This afternoon, instead of hanging out quietly at home I accompanied my eldest to a wrestling practice. But, you say, isn't all that over?

Well no. Our son is part of a Japanese wrestling club (not sumo, freestyle wrestling) in the off-seasons. He usually goes on Monday nights, but as this is also Spring Break for Japanese schools, a special practise was held this afternoon. 

I went because it was at a venue he's never been to and we weren't confident he would find on his own. It took about an hour by train to get there, not too far by Tokyo standards!

Interestingly we arrived just as some other high schoolers were leaving. One of them we recognised as a very good wrestler in the international school's league. I guess they went to the morning training time, the training we won't allow our son to go to because it is at the same time as church. 

As I sat and watched them train, I was reminded of the many hours I've spent learning the piano. Particularly the hours spent at my teachers house. I had three hours of lessons a week, half of that was a group lesson. Piano is a very solo instrument. You don't usually spend much time with others when you're learning it. At the time I'm not sure if I valued the group lesson as much as I should have. 

But back to wrestling, it's the opposite to piano: there isn't a lot of training you can do alone. You can do "conditioning", strength training etc. alone, but you really need to practise with a partner to improve. But here's where it is the same as a musical instrument. You need to practise the moves over and over again till they become semiautomatic. Till you intuitively know what to do. 

Knowing all this makes it all the more impressive when you actually watch a bout. An awful lot of work has gone into refining those skills!

Sunday afternoon is usually very quiet for us. I generally spend a couple of hours lying down to read and play sudoku, Words with Friends, and Spider Solitaire on my phone. Sometimes I cross-stitch later. However despite spending more than two hours on trains today and then two hours sitting on a vibrating gym floor, I've had a refreshing time. I've been reading Looking for God by Nancy Ortberg.

 It's another compellingly honest book. I could quote many passages, but here is one that's close to my heart:
The greatest apologetic, the best defense or evidence of our faith, is the way we live authentically with God. Authenticity implies honesty, struggles, questions, desert times, shaking fists, and hopeful silences. I can only model what I'm experiencing. Anything else is either behaviour modification or "faking it" – neither of which is transformational.
We have this mistaken idea that living the Christian life is a series of mountaintops, a succession of grand faith adventures.  
It is not...God lives in the struggle. It is there we find Him. 
As school starts up again tomorrow I'm very aware that we're stepping onto a slippery slope. A slope that ends with us moving back to Australia. It's going to be a struggle. I hope I can struggle authentically. But it is encouraging to realise again that I can expect to find God many times in the slide. 


Georgia said...

Love that last sentence.

Wendy said...

Yeah, me too Georgia!