Have you ever stood in an empty football stadium? It is an awe-inspiring experience to stand in that huge open space. A space just waiting to be filled, a space with a complete understanding of its purpose, a space perfectly designed to fulfill that purpose.
I had this experience during my high school reunion when we visited the empty Penn State University football stadium. We took the elevators all the way up to the top level, accessed only by a special key, and walked out into an empty, light filled, stadium.
As I stood there, I felt the correlation of the stadium to the way we live our lives. Our lives are also a space designed to be filled. But, unlike the stadium, we are not always clear about our purpose, or willing to fulfill it.
Visiting the stadium was a perfect symbol for the weekend. We were all there reminiscing about our lives together as youngsters. We shared what we had done during the years apart, and what our plans were for the future.
It was easy to see how are lives are designed to be filled, just like the stadium. In comparison, how well are we doing? How prepared are we for future expansion. How inclusive are we?
The stadium has done well. Our tour guide shared the history of its expansion. He took us from its beginning and its move to the present location. We learned about the steady improvement and additions that have made it the second largest stadium in the country.
As a proud State College hometown girl, I have to add that it is only second because the stadium that claims to seat more people does it by having less room for each seat. Our stadium chose comfort over numbers. I like that choice. Its purpose was not to have more, but to be quality.
I grew up with that stadium. In a way, it was a teenager when I was a teenager.
Throughout the years, the stadium has expanded in progressive steps, always improving. It continues its purpose, to provide a space for many people to bring their hopes, and dreams, and to make memories. Each step of its expansion has cost time and money, and has involved collaboration between a wide diversity of people and talents.
Instead of closing down and doing less as time moved on, it has expanded and accepted new ideas, providing more space to be filled with the qualities of joy, happiness, expectation, intent, and celebration.
We don’t always do this with our lives. As time moves on, we are often tempted to do less. We stay stuck, or comfortable, in our patterns of beliefs and judgments. Like the stadium, our lives are designed to be filled with ideas, hopes, love, joy, happiness, compassion, intents, caring, gifts, memories, people, and celebration.
Being exclusionary, and shutting down, is counter to our purpose.
Recently two new digital boards were added to the PSU stadium. This new technology will enable everyone in the stadium to see a clear picture of what is happening on the field. The stadium continues to move with the times, with a cost of time, money, and patience and with a strong willingness to go forward into the future.
Do we do the same? Do we allow our lives to grow and expand so that we can be more of what we have been designed to be? Although our lives are designed to be filled, we are responsible for the expansion that enables that to happen.
As in all things, size doesn’t matter. Some people’s lives are as full as a stadium; others are smaller and more intimate. But, in all cases, we are the ones who must be willing to expand to allow more ideas and people into our lives. It takes work. It sometimes takes money. It always takes patience.
However, that has always been our purpose, and in the end, it is what blooms our lives in joy, and where we find fulfillment.