photo by Charles Edward Case

You made me for Yourself, and my heart is restless until in finds its rest in You.
St. Augustine of Hippo

I had two conversations this week that stayed with me long after they were finished. The first was with one of my sons, and the topic was the early retirement, at age 29, of NFL quarterback Andrew Luck. The second conversation was with one of my nephews, who is a rising junior in high school.

If you are a sports fan—or even just “sports fan adjacent,” you have probably heard about Andrew Luck. He is just 29 years old, and has played all 7 seasons of his professional career with the Indianapolis Colts. He is very talented and has produced for his team, so there was widespread shock this week when he decided to leave the game. He cited years of pain and injuries that include a lacerated kidney, concussion, torn ligaments and broken bones. Luck was tearful during his retirement announcement, saying “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live.”

If you are a parent, or an aunt or uncle, or even just know a junior in high school, you probably know how pressure packed that year is for just about every student in that place at that time. People (most of them well intentioned) ask questions. They have expectations. And whether a student’s goal is conquering a certain subject, or finishing the year, or getting a high school diploma or moving on beyond that to work or college, it’s hard for them to untangle their own ideas and hopes from the agenda of those around them.

Noise. Andrew Luck is at the center of a very public discernment process focused on the tension between what people expect him to do and the life he wanted to live. As you might imagine, his decision to retire has been controversial. And my nephew, like countless students before him, is trying to locate his heart in the midst of many strong—sometimes competing– narratives for his next steps. All such discernments evolve in community, they all involve listening, and they all demand filtering truth from clamor and din. For the faithful, this process includes prayer. Because as we continue to discover who we are and how we are called to live, the insights that are truly Grace-filled draw us closer to the One who created us for the journey.