Bowling Lessons

I was looking forward to Friday night. Our fellowship was planning a fun time of bowling together. Even though I rarely ever bowled, it would be a nice relaxing evening after a week of busyness and responsibilities. So when we got to the bowling alley, I eagerly awaited for the tranquil feelings to kick in as I put on those loose fitting bowling shoes. “This is just what I need to wash away all that stress from the week,” I thought to myself. Unfortunately, it was not going to happen.

I immediately began rifling through all the bowling balls looking for the perfect one. I couldn’t remember, however, what weight I should choose. I didn’t want to choose a ball that was too light and broadcast to the world that I was a 98 pound weakling, yet I didn’t want one that was too heavy so as to ruin my form. I finally decided that a 14 pound ball was respectful enough and I could use it without pulling a muscle. The attendant had typed in all our names in the scoring machine and I was up first. My much anticipated night of relaxation was about to end.

It started off fairly well. A couple spares, several high scores, I was doing OK. Not great, but acceptable. The first game ended and I was in second place among our group of three amateurs. But then it was all downhill. I don’t know if my arm was tired or that I’m just a bad player, but the second game was a disaster. Gutter balls, no spares, really low numbers. I was feeling stressed. “Why can’t I do better,” I fretted. I looked over at the alley where my 11 year old twins were playing with their friends. It was all high fives, dancing and jubilation. I looked up at the highly visible scoring screen over my alley. There my name was in big bold letters with the embarrassingly low score for all the world to see. “Why did I come here tonight,” I asked myself.

Sitting there, I began to look around at my kids and friends enjoying themselves. The smiles, slaps on the back, and squeals of triumph shook me out of my stressful pity party. This is why I had come. Not to win or compete, but to love and enjoy my friends and family. Our society puts too much emphasis on success and achievement and not on the things that matter most, our relationships. Did I have a fun and relaxing time that night? I was with my friends and family, and that was a real pleasure.