Last night I watched the end of the football game between Green Bay and Detroit. In the last few minutes of the game things looked hopeless for the Packers. Fans were leaving the stadium, the players considered it over for them. In that moment, a penalty on Detroit opened a window to a slim chance—one more play. Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary Pass 61 yards into the end zone. Richard Rodgers reached up and caught it for the win. It was the pass of a lifetime—a catch of a lifetime. A defining moment that will forever be attached to the two Rodgers’ lives.
I thought about how Richard Rodgers felt when that ball touched his fingertips and he tucked it to his gut. I thought about how we have those defining moments where we throw ourselves into the unknown despite hopelessness and fear and land on our feet. It’s when we flip the switch and realize, “I will survive without you. You are not good for my spiritual or physical health. I am finished with you,” and know in our gut that this time we mean it. It’s the joy of walking into our own apartment—a safe place to come home to. It’s when we awaken in the morning, and for the first time in a long time we are excited about a new day. It’s receiving that call that the job or promotion is ours and the satisfaction we feel when we look into the mirror and see the person we are meant to be, looking back. Filled with joy, gratefulness and amazement, we acknowledge how far we have come.
Another important point is that Richard couldn’t have caught the ball if Aaron hadn’t risk the throw. Those great moments of success can’t happen if we don’t take the risk. We have to— reach out for help, leave an unhealthy relationship, get into therapy—do all the recovery work to pull our lives together. We trudge forward ignoring the inner and outer critical voices telling us we are not capable of surviving on our own. We risk disappointments and still keep putting one foot in front of the other until we feel that ball fall into our hands and we know we have conquered our fear, we have saved ourselves. These are our defining moments.