For his sermon this Sunday morning, our priest James told the story of watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love with his wife this weekend. One of the characters in the movie tells the main character that what she needs is a champion, and James continued to preach on what it means to be someone’s champion and the notion that we all need a champion. I thought about what his sermon meant in my life. I’m quite certain that my husband is my champion and an excellent one at that, and I’m also sure that I’m his champion as well. I’ve always been my children’s champion, even when they were teenagers and didn’t think so. They, likewise, have been my champion.
I remember a time many, many years ago when I was playing in the orchestra for the San Antonio Art Festival’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood . I played the alto recorder and had never played professionally before. The conductor was going faster than my fingers could fly, and I fumbled several times, until finally the conductor stopped conducting and yelled at me. My face was burning and I fought to hold in the tears. My children had come with me to the rehearsal, and when we were finished for the day and I walked out with them, all three were furious at the conductor for treating me the way he did. One of the boys (I can’t remember which one it was now, but he couldn’t have been more than eight or nine) offered to go back in and punch the conductor in the face. It’s easy to be the champion of people you love.
But what about all the people in the world who need a champion and don’t have one? What about the people in my own community? There’s an old lady I see every once in awhile sitting on the sidewalk outside the post office. I don’t know if she’s homeless, but she definitely has issues. I always say hello to her and ask her how she’s doing, and once I gave her some money to get something to eat, even though she had never asked for anything. I actually asked her first if she would accept some money from me, and her eyes got wide as she said, “Do you think it’s okay for me to take the money?” When I assured her it was, she was so appreciative, I wished I had more to give her. Now when I think about how everyone needs a champion, I realize I didn’t do nearly enough. If I see her again, I want to do more than just hand her some money and walk away. I want to invite her to walk across the street to Wendy’s and have lunch with me, and I want to talk to her and really listen. I hope I get that chance.
I usually make ridiculous New Year’s resolutions I can never keep, and they’re all about me, such as I’m going to get rid of this gut this year by working out five days a week and eating less (ain’t ever going to happen; I love food too much!), I’m going to get a new string for my violin and start practicing again, I’m going to finish that short story I’ve been working on for the past five years (actually, not working on), etc., etc. This year I’m only going to make one resolution: I’m going to look for opportunities to be someone’s champion. Who will join me?