Baseball season is upon us yet again. To me it is no coincidence that baseball begins each spring. Winter ends when baseball begins. Baseball reminds me that the winter does not last forever! As I sit here and look through my notes and prepare for another opening day of baseball, I am thankful for all the ways that God has used a simple game to shape my faith journey. I am amazed at how God constantly merges the natural with the supernatural.
We all have things that have shaped our faith during the formative years of childhood. Maybe for you it was a book… a trip… a pastime. Baseball was a part of my formation, a part of my story. What was something that shaped your story? What is currently shaping your child’s story?
This is my letter to baseball:
I’ve known you for as long as I can remember. Fond memories of you come rushing back as I think of a childhood filled with fresh grass under my cleats and the aroma of hot dogs in the air. I know you are merely a child’s game, but I’m here to say thank you. Let me explain.
There is something different about you, baseball. You aren’t like other sports. You are slow and drawn out, yet everything can change in the swing of the bat. You are basic in strategy (throw the ball, hit the ball), yet you are so very difficult to master. You reward the patient, the focused, the perseverant ones. You are a game of beauty build on a field of dirt.
You remind me of how God shaped man from the dirt. And yet somehow God has used you to shape parts of me as well. With a crumpled up cup for a ball and a hand as a bat, you taught me how to create something out of nothing. You showed me that failing is okay and that we can’t finish the game alone. Your heroes became my heroes. I had them plastered on my walls and collected in old beat up shoeboxes. Within the white lines of your diamond, I experienced joy and sorrow, loss and victory. You were a consistent thread running through my story.
And whether you know it or not, baseball, you tell a story as old as time. A narrative of redemption. A script that defines us all. Baseball, you are a game that mimics life. Between your foul poles, players leave home with nothing and somehow come back with everything. It’s the story of the prodigal son. It’s the story of the lost sheep. It’s my story. It’s a story where you leave home and then come back again.
We will cross that dusty plate someday. But until then…we will sweat and bleed and cry. We will get dirty. We will have a few grass stains on the jersey. There will be little victories that come our way. Teammates will be added. Laughter will be had. Miraculous plays will be made. A stadium full of fans will cheer us on. And then the game will end. Around the bases we will go, and Someone will be running out of the dugout to welcome us home.
Thank you baseball for the lessons learned. Thank you for teaching me that instant isn’t always better. For showing me that failing is part of the game. For pointing me towards the playful side of our Father. And thank you for the opportunity to play catch with my dad. Every pop of the glove reminds me of our God who is waiting for us in the backyard.
A fan of the game