I walk out of Starbucks. I don’t love paying $5 for coffee. I’m more of a home-brew kind of gal. Waiting in line for overpriced coffee means one of two things: I am living it up or I need a pick-me-up.
Today was the latter.
In life, setbacks seem to come in waves. Before you rise from the first blow, the next one overwhelms you. It’s that kind of day.
So I walk to my car with two Frappuccinos in hand. As I fall into my seat, I feel the weight of several crushing conversations. I never really know what to say. I listen to Coach. I try to respond with love and assurance. Sometimes I offer advice. Usually, I’m just winging it. I firmly assert that everything will be ok.
But here in the silence, I allow the tears to carry much of that weight away. This is familiar territory. I’ve learned as a coach’s wife, I often cry alone.
Coaching is a mixed bag of emotions. Of course, there are those joyful, exhilarating moments. That’s the game winning catch or the end of a long-time losing streak.
Then there are those plain, boring, get-me-outta-here moments. You know—when you are up by 28 in the first quarter and its 90 degrees and you are out of concession stand money. (If my kid says “snack” ONE MORE TIME….)
When I married Coach, I signed up for many things. But I did not know that disappointment was one of them.
I knew it would be sad to lose a game. Or many games. Losing is never fun. Sure there would be sad times. But I didn’t know that we would always keep disappointment in tow. As a coach’s wife disappointment follows you like a flatbed truck and manifests itself in so many ways that can be hard to breathe.
That is when I cry alone.
There are common disappointments. These are the things that we all understand in our FNW community. This translates to cancelled date nights and postponed anniversary dinners. It’s when “a weekend away” really means watching a competitor in the next town during bye week.
Then there are those times when coach has been gone all day—and you get that text—about some fill-in-the-blank random responsibility that no one else on earth could take care of and….blah, blah, blah… The JV game. The unannounced film session. The locker room’s flooded. The ball field’s on fire. (Maybe I made those last two up.) But we all know that ANYTHING is possible in that post-practice text. We are no stranger to these disappointments. So when the lasagna gets cold and you have to put your kids to bed by yourself (again), I know you cry alone.
When you are alone remember that God is our help. “My help cometh from the Lord.” Ps 121:2
There are private disappointments. These are the things that are unique to you and your family. Maybe football is straining your marriage. Maybe Coach is facing rejection. Maybe you feel rejected, when no one wants to sit with the coach’s wife. Or they do… but they make purposeful, ugly comments. It’s one of those game nights where you drag your five kids to the van to wait out the fourth quarter (I vow that “SNACK” should be considered a curse word). Or maybe you wish you had kids to drag to the van, but the doctor says it’s not possible and nobody understands what that feels like. In your private disappointments, I know you often cry alone.
When you are alone remember that God hears our cries. “Hear my cry, O God… when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Ps 61:1, 2
There are tragic disappointments. Here I pause to take a deep breath, because here words can fail. Some disappointments are so catastrophic that we feel as though we cannot move. But it falls to you, dear Coach’s Wife, to display peace and to provide the people you serve with unwavering faith. You have no idea where it comes from, but yet it comes. And you receive the grace to minister to those around you in spite of the crippling pain. There are moments we don’t understand but please know that God promises to comfort us so that we will be able to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:4). You will be comforted by God, but you will likely cry alone.
When you are alone remember that God is our comfort and he will hold you up. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22
As a child, I used to attend my Grandmother’s country church. This church had stained glass windows and creaky, hard wooden pews. The congregation (which was about 20 people) sang old hymns of the faith. During hand-shaking time they would sing this chorus:
No, never alone,
No, never alone
He promised never to leave me
Never to leave me alone.
These four lines stuck with me. I often cry alone, but I am never really alone. God’s Word promises that He “will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He has bottled our tears and sees our wanderings (Psalm 56:8).
He has given us a community of sisters. So remember, Sister, you may cry alone. But you are never, truly alone.