By Pastor Mary Jo Yeakel

Ada First United Methodist Church

For the past two years my personal adventure skill of learning has been to explore the possibility of enjoying football. I knew football happened. I saw my dad highly invested – he always rooted for the underdog. Yet the only question I could intelligently ask was “who’s winning?”

So I started. I got myself a personal coach — or what should be called a good friend who loved football and had a lot of knowledge. She also spoke in ways that I could understand. She had also learned to love football. I’ve noticed that when someone is raised in football, they have a hard time explaining to a novice! Next I picked one team. Hum, whom should I pick? At that time in history the Ohio State football team hit a huge crisis. Big enough that even if you didn’t follow football you heard about it. The picture of J. T. Barrett on the field with competitor Devin Gardner, still causes me to pause. The compassion poured of the screen and into my heart.

The next thing were incredible moments for Cardale Jones, let me emphasis this, third-string Cardale Jones. He poured his heart and joy into being the quarterback with the team. I would giggle as I watched his face through the next series of games. No one could believe how things unfolded. It was joyous.

I tell you all this because I want to show you the Yes of God that I see everyday. It is my calling in life to see God’s yeses. Even in football. Here are some of the ways it’s true in my life.

I finally had a topic to talk about with folk in my life where talking was difficult. OK, sometimes we never got beyond that topic, but sometimes we did and my heart was strangely warmed.

I have cousins, yet have not been close to them at all! Attending a family funeral in Wisconsin brought us together. Again, the topic of football was the “thin edge of the wedge” for our conversations. I confess to you, I’d spoken only politely to the husbands but football literally launched us well beyond that. One thing let to another and I found myself learning and loving in new ways.

And then this happened. Through the bond of football I found myself texting my cousin just the other day. I offered prayer for the college of my cousin’s heart. Like so many other colleges and universities, tragedy had struck – and because of all the fun conversations, I had a relationship that blessed such reaching out.

By Anne Coburn-Griffis

Sentinel Editor