Take Me Out to the Ballgame

ben-chuck-001

Glory thought, ‘That strange and particular grace a man’s body seems never to forget. Scooping up grounders and throwing sidearm.’

from Home by Marilynne Robinson

Baseball. If ever there was a game that drew you home in more ways than one, this was it. This is it. A slice of Americana in a ball park on a summer evening. It’s the sport that takes you back to the empty fields of your childhood ala The Sandlot. It’s the slaw dogs, the popcorn, the cotton candy, and sometimes the beer. It’s the crack of the bat, the cheer, the organ. Each ballpark has its own personality, knitted together by grass and clay and bubble gum. Some might even be a Field of Dreams.

The announcers for these games seem like guys you’d want to have to dinner. Take Vince Scully for example. Just this morning my husband relayed something Scully said about Sandy Koufax in 1965: “A lot of people in the ballpark now are starting to see the pitches with their hearts… I would think that the mound at Dodger Stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world…. Sandy into his windup, here’s the pitch:Swung on and missed, a perfect game! ” (the crowd cheered for 38 seconds). There is a real connection here, a passion. Heart.

I wish more people could experience the comfort of being at a game, whether Little League or Major League; where it feels like one big family. Where little kids can run up and down the bleachers or run around the bases, where the fans come to expect the seventh Inning stretch and a round of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. There’s just nothing like it.

With the passing of Jose Fernandez, America has turned it’s eyes and hearts to baseball, at least briefly. Fernandez had only become a citizen in April of 2015, and the story of his journey to citizenship is one worth reading. And after you’ve read that, get yourself to a ballpark before the season ends. You’ll be glad you did.

Besides the ones mentioned above, here are some of my favorite baseball movies:

  • The Natural
  • Fever Pitch
  • Trouble With the Curve
  • For the Love of the Game
  • The Rookie
  • A League of Their Own

When They Don’t Have the Words

this ties in with the last post I made

Not In This Soup Alone

IMG_2404

As a grandparent, I’m learning to be more aware of the feelings of young children who can’t express what it is they are feeling. Sometimes these little ones just don’t have the words to tell us that they are tired or frustrated. Being aware and patient could actually help us deal with people of all ages.

This awareness really hit me one evening when my grandson asked me to read a book for the third night in a row. It is called “Animal Daddies and My Daddy”. I was taking care of him and his sister while their parents were out of town and I think he chose that book because he was really missing his daddy. The other book he chose for me to read was Eric Carle’s “Animals Animals” because he said it was his mom’s favorite book. This was his way of being close to them while…

View original post 270 more words

Thoughts from Great Expectations #1

ge2

“…I have often thought that few people know what secrecy there is in the young, under terror. No matter how unreasonable the terror, so that it be terror.” – from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I have come to understand this more the older I get. Last year our grandson went through a long patch of waking up afraid in the middle of the night. It wasn’t an easy fix, because it was difficult to understand just what was going through his mind. No matter how unreasonable his terror may have seemed to an adult, it was real to him.

Last week I experienced the crushing heartache of a young boy gripped by a real fear. His aunt had overdosed and was not expected to live. Here he was at school, with all the ridiculousness of middle school going on all around him, and he was worried, afraid, and grieving for someone close to him that he may not ever see again. She was miles away in another town and he was helpless.

I’ve had students who have lost siblings and parents while under my care. I’ve known some who have attempted suicide and others who have been tugged through a messy divorce.

As teachers, we are a part of a student’s life for hours on end. We can make the most of our relationship with them by being more perceptive and understanding. But most importantly, we can take them to the Lord in prayer.

Psalm 11

flee

Psalm 11 has this to say in verses 1-2:

In the Lord I put my trust;
How can you say to my soul,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain”?
For look! The wicked bend their bow,
They make ready their arrow on the string,
That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.

Many of us worry and live in fear. Yes, we are to be wise in our comings and goings; we shouldn’t recklessly put ourselves in dangerous situations. But, often, I think we shy away too much from situations when we don’t trust the Lord. How many of us think, or even say “I don’t want to go to that part of town” when it’s in just “that” neighborhood that people need to hear the Gospel.

Others are preoccupied with  stuff and with socking away money for retirement. I don’t recall reading about any of the saints in scripture retiring. We fell prey to the “building bigger barns” syndrome when we bought a house that was larger than we really needed just because we could. And then it was a struggle to maintain.

In this election year, many struggle with the issue of our future as a country. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all the strange and scary things I read and hear daily. Truly I have to lay this all at the feet of Christ, for I can only pray and trust. I don’t understand the whys, but I know it’s in His hands. Always has been.

Verses 3-4 of Psalm 11 say:

If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?
The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.

This is how Dale Ralph Davis puts it in The Way of the Righteous

 in the Muck of Life: “Despair is managed by keeping Yahweh himself in the center of your vision.” I thought this was a great summation.

muck

And let me leave you with this one last quote from Davis: “You have not seen Jesus yet you love Jesus. Christians are such conundrums.”

Psalm 10

….there are seasons in a believer’s life – and sometimes the seasons change suddenly…Faith is perplexed and yet goes on pleading. The psalmist does not use God’s baffling him as an excuse for disengaging with God but as an incentive to press on with him. from – The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

I don’t know just what season I’m in right now. It’s like the rainy season – sprinkled with showers of doubt; covered in clouds of despair. But sometimes, the clouds will break up and the sun will shine through and I am reminded that God is still there, always there, even when I doubt.

The Psalm begins this way in verses one and two:

Why do You stand afar off, O Lord  Why do You hide in times of trouble?

The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which

they have devised.

Why? I’m always wondering why. I find myself too full of questions and doubt. But, the psalmist sees that God is good in verse fourteen:

But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, To repay it by Your hand.

The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.

And again in verses 17-18:

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart;

You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

My prayer for myself is that God would change my whys into words of trust. That I would

trust in Him to shelter me in the days of darkness and give me joy in the rays of His grace.

Psalm 4

tight

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have relieved me in my distress;

Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.- Psalm 4:1

 

“ …in tight places you have made space for me.” – The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

muck

 

David was almost killed by a javelin thrown by Saul, his house was watched by Saul’s henchmen, he was let down through a window and escaped; yet in all this he pleas for and relies on the grace and mercy of God. Oh to have the faith of David!

I can’t say I’ve had the experiences of David. We all have our own trials and temptations, but God knows this. He knows our needs even before we do. I do know that God has relieved me in many distresses but I also know I have clung to crumbling walls and fretted over failures instead of giving my burdens to Him. My prayer today is for mercy.

Fill Your Paper

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

ID-100370210

photo by photouten

 

This is good advice to someone who has something to say and has a knack for saying it well. I’m not talking about stuff like, “Good morning! Today I am doing to have decaf instead of regular coffee…. blah blah blah”. That’s okay for a morning conversation with your cat, but it’s not the breathings of your heart.

I’m thinking poetry, or personal reflections of a somewhat serious nature. If you are willing to share some of your soul with others, I can guarantee you there is an audience out there longing for your words. No, not everyone will want to read your thoughts, but someone will. Someone may need to hear what you have to say to help them get through a hard time. Your words may be just the right ones at just the right time that could make a difference to someone.

Even if no one does read your words, just the filling of the paper can do wonders for YOU. And, who knows? That practice of getting your words down may be just what you need to encourage yourself. It may lead one day to sharing with the world.

Rebecca Curtis, author of Twenty Grand and Other Tales of Love and Money, says a writer should be “willing to write drivel in a notebook every day, with the idea that not everything you write should be for the purpose of publication.”

Writing in a notebook everyday is good advice. I keep a notebook in my purse and use it for all kinds of writing, from story idea lists to sermon notes in church to what I need to get at the grocery store.

One thing Curtis said that I thought was really good advice is that not everything you write is suitable for publication.  Really, I don’t want to hear about your problems with pooping or how much sugar someone puts in their tea, UNLESS it is woven into a tale worth telling.