Here's a short story made long...
Recently, a very close friend gave me the most wonderful, authentic compliment I've ever received. She told me that I am a "gatherer of wisdom." I spend my time reading, watching, listening, gathering because I believe that at some point it all weaves together; at some point, there is a revelation of God in the middle of our daily, ordinary lives. For this reason, I never just read a book or watch a movie. For me, at some point, I have to go deeper and contemplate, even if it's just a really good sandwich.
Last night, my husband and I watched the most wonderful baseball game. (Here's where the story gets long...) I want to tell you how we ended up there, sitting on the couch at 11 o'clock at night watching baseball.
In December of 2009 (I said: short story - long), I decided to teach myself how to knit. I discovered is that I needed some background noise, especially when unknotting the yarn (grrr...). At the time, football seemed to do the trick; however, all football fans know that there is an empty space left in our lives when the National Championship is over. That's when I discovered The Texas Rangers, not basesball, The Rangers. To be honest, it wasn't even really the sport; it was the commentator who hooked me. I loved listening to his voice and stories. Meanwhile, my husband started playing the guitar.
So, here we were sitting in our living room, baseball on the tv, me in my chair knitting, him on the couch playing guitar. And something happened. I don't know how to describe it other than: the moments of God's grace in our marriage became more frequent.
Fast forward to the fall of 2010. Some dear friends of ours shared some of their season tickets with us. And one warm evening, we found ourselves sitting six rows behind first base in Ranger stadium. No guitar. No knitting. Just some hot dogs, popcorn, beer, baseball and us. Talk about grace. It was wonderful. Fast forward to the ALCS PostSeason 2010. We found ourselves sitting in those very same seats as Texas won the ALCS! I don't think either one of us will forget it; it will always be a highlight of our life together.
A lot has happened in our lives since then. We moved to Kentucky in the Spring of 2011, far away from Ranger Stadium and, more than that, an incredible community of friends. The move, itself, is a revelation of God's grace for us and we are happy here. We miss our friends and we know this is where God calls us to be. AND: we had no tv. What I mean is: we had the actual television and no cable, not even an antenna. This was just one piece of this huge change in our lives and over the last six months we've made that particular adjustment fairly well. Despite this change, I followed The Rangers from afar and could see they were having a good, perhaps great, season.
AND THEN...THEY DID IT AGAIN! PostSeason ALCS Champions 2011! And we got cable: just so we could watch the world series.
Game 1 was a disappointment, perhaps it was because I was so excited. We let the kids stay up and watch the first inning. And this time there was no knitting (there was a little bit of guitar). Our attention, though, was on the game. And I was grumpy that we lost.
When I awoke Thursday, I made a deal with myself: I would only watch half of the game. I was tired and had 5 miles to run on Friday. We got half-way through the fourth inning and I couldn't leave. My husband pulled out the guitar. Every once in a while he would cheer his cheer: Go Baseball! Then, there was that fifth inning play: Kinsler and Andrus, doing their thing, and making a beautiful, beautiful play. And we needed runs. The score was 0-0. And then St. Louis scored. And I almost went to bed.
Now, let me tell you something about my day. I had had an exhausting day. I was tired. My emotions were thin. I was upset about some critique I received first thing in the morning. I was upset because my learning curve in my career right now is so steep. I was frustrated because I cannot MAKE something happen. And I felt as if I was watching my day play out on the baseball field. At that moment, I felt like The Rangers would lose and that was not good.
And then...they won! They won because they played like a team. They worked together: each one offering his particular gifts and skills to the game.
This brings me to my point: in that moment, they were a living image of Church, community working together by authentically offering their gifts to something larger than themselves. This is why I gather; this is why I listen; this is why I watch: because at some point, God's wisdom is revealed and, for a brief moment, I understand. We go eight innings offering our very best, which still seems inadequate, and, then, something happens. It's unexplainable, unknowable; it is a mystery. Yet, this "something" is the thing that unites us, gives us hope and reminds that there is always one more inning.
Maybe it is just baseball. Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if they hadn't won. Perhaps my St. Louis friends disagree with me because their team didn't win. Except, St. Louis played an incredible game last night. I saw it in them too: offering their best, which may have felt inadequate, yet they still had those moments when the team worked together. I know, I know: the analogy breaks down eventually.
And, I wanted to say, out loud, to God: Thank you. I get it. I understand: it's not about me. It's about us, working together, offering ourselves back to God with the hope that something will happen. And that "thing", that mystery, will draw us closer to one another and, most of all, to God. Thanks be to God!
Peace be with you,