If you were a cult follower of the TV show Friday Night Lights like I was, then you will instantly recognize the title of this blog. Each game night Coach Taylor’s Dillon Panthers Football Team touched the Panther P above the doorway on their way out of the locker room, chanting, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” It became the thesis of the entire show. This mantra also spills out into many areas of life.
It’s idea of knowing who you are, having a clear vision, putting your full heart into something, believing that when you do—come what may—you can’t lose. Who doesn’t want to leave that kind of legacy?
I also love that, in the show, it is attributed to a football team. The hard work is done by individuals and then as team—putting it all on the field, making memories that last a lifetime, all for the love the game. That’s what football is all about!
I’ve been thinking a lot about warriors—individuals and team players who work really hard fighting battles in life. I’m talking about kids who are continually get their heads knocked about, their ribs bruised, their bodies battered, and who (figuratively speaking) have to wear mouth guards so their teeth don’t get knocked out. These are the ones dealing with intense peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse, pornography, death of loved ones, suicides, anxiety, depression, addiction, and so much more.
By the time these kids land on my couch at ANASAZI, it’s as if they don’t even remember what they are fighting for or about. They are broken, beaten, and completely filled with either anger or apathy. They don’t remember who they are or whose they are. They have almost convinced themselves that they would be better off alone or dead.
And then, by being sent to ANASAZI, they are given a reprieve; a safe haven; a place to rest, unplug, distress, disengage, let go. And yet, at the same time, they are required to work hard, be independent, use their agency, accept consequences to their actions, and work together with teams. They are given an opportunity to feel what personal independence is like, by being taught valuable life skills—making their own food, getting their water from a stream, starting a fire from nothing but sticks. It’s amazing what a few days of true independence will do for a teenager!
I consider myself blessed to watch as these warriors battle life’s unseen foes, rise up against their addictions and fight until they can let go, bravely face the heartache of homesickness, and finally sink to their knees as they accept mercy for their past mistakes. Over time, I begin to see that “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” outlook on life creep into their faces. My very favorite moments at ANASAZI are when one of my warriors looks up at me with his dirty face with beautiful, clear eyes, and with a passionate heart and motivated spirit, tells me that they have never been so happy with so little!
If you have forgotten who you are, if you are looking for healing, if you need to find some direction in your life, I invite you to make a change now! There is nothing better than to have a “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” attitude permeating your soul.
I invite you to find it for yourself.