I was nine years old when we lived in Denver.
The reason I know this is because it was the year that the Dallas Cowboys played the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII. I also know this because I would turn 10 years old later that year while living in Mexico.
There was a fever pitch in Denver leading up to that game. My sister, Kathleen, was a HUGE Broncos fan and I adored her, and therefore I liked these Broncos, whoever they were. I remember in school helping decorate a very long banner that we were told would be put up in the hallway of the stadium where the Super Bowl would be played. The Broncos would run past it on their way out to the field. This banner was hanging in the cafeteria and we were sent in, class by class, to help decorate it.
I barely had any idea what football was all about, but I wanted in on the excitement of cheering on the Broncos that my sister loved. I didn’t know what to write at first, but as I got closer and read the banner, and watched the other kids, several recurring themes emerged so I grabbed a brightly colored orange Crayola crayon and joined in with the others.
“Orange Crush” was one of the predominant themes, of course.
What I really wanted that day was to be a part of something bigger than me, and to feel included. On this day, I was like a chameleon, and turned myself a bright orange color to fit in with the crowd and feel like I was part of the excitement. I also craved Kathleen’s approval.
I couldn’t have been any more ignorant of what a Super Bowl, or even football, was all about. What I did know is that feeling included felt better than feeling like an outsider. I had been an outsider my whole life. We were not allowed to make friends outside of the cult we were born and raised in. There was even one December that we were sent to the library to sit out of the Christmas party, because “…our family doesn’t celebrate pagan holidays”.
For the first time that I can recall, I realized that there was another world outside of the very small world that I was living in and I wanted to be a part of it. I found something outside of my small world that I could safely and inconspicuously include myself in, and oh, how good it felt to expand my horizons!
So today, I’ll be cheering for the Broncos, win or lose. Not because I’m a Broncos fan, but because all those years ago there was a little girl that had her eyes opened so she could see more than she had ever seen before. That little girl dared to write on a banner, dared to include herself in something bigger than herself. Only a few short years later, that same girl, a teenager now, would need more of the same daring spirit, but that is a story for another time.
It’s now decades later and my daring spirit is emerging once again. I’ve been speaking and telling my story for years, and now it’s time to write it. The writing process has already demanded more courage than I thought I had in me. That small seed planted long ago in a cafeteria, a little girl making her mark on a banner with a bright orange crayon has blossomed into a woman with a keyboard, writing a manuscript for a book that will be published later this year, if I understand this process correctly.
This writing of my story is my own personal Super Bowl, and the stakes could not be higher.
I have an adversary and to him this is no game. My adversary would swallow me alive if he could.
I also have Someone who is for me. I know that His Angel-Armies go before me and that they are my rear guard. I also know Who is walking beside me on this journey.
I also have many, many someones standing and cheering wildly from the stands and my gratitude knows no bounds.