Alabama native, Philip Rivers, quarterback of the San Diego’s Chargers, is a devout Catholic, a husband and father of seven. (Even though the team is now in Los Angeles, they will forever be the San Diego Chargers to me).
At the North Carolina State University graduation last May, while delivering the commencement address, Rivers shared a Latin phrase that is very special to him. (Probably from his days as an altar boy!)
“Nunc Coepi” translated “Now I begin”.
While known for his passing bombs through the air, Rivers reminds us of how this phrase is applicable to everything in our lives.
It seems like we are always beginning anew –
In our relationships with others, building trust, compassion, acceptance and patience.
In our professions, beginning a new assignment, taking on new responsibilities,
In in our spiritual development, initiating certain practices strengthening our relationship with God.
And in our habits, trying to become the best versions of ourselves.
Whether you throw an interception, score a touchdown, make an error or earn success – you are always beginning anew.
These beginnings are ongoing. You begin again, and again and again. You never give up. Nunc Coepi.
God does not expect us to be perfect. We make mistakes. We learn. We take a tiny step at a time – no huge leaps. Not an exciting process to watch; oftentimes weary.
We learn resilience like the inflatable children’s toy that is designed when knocked down to spring right back up. It’s the ability to recover from difficulties. Similar to elasticity, resilience is the quality of being able to bend but not break.
We all were issued learner’s permits on this earth. We have permits to learn by doing, by trial and error, all our life long.
We are all unfinished. We are filled with imperfections. We don’t cover up or deny our snail’s pace progress. We are honest and bound together by a willingness to filter everything through understanding hearts.
We have a wonderful gift to give to one another. We can be the bearers of God’s grace, liberating, encouraging, strengthening, empowering, drawing from one another as we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and begin anew. Nunc Coepi.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux encourages us, “A saint is not someone who never sins, but one who sins less and less frequently and gets up more and more quickly.”