I guess I was about five or six when I first started playing organized baseball. While I have many memories of playing sports at that age, much of what I remember has little to do with the playing of the game or learning how to play the game. What I remember are the things associated with kids playing outside. I remember being far more interested in chasing the bugs in the outfield than I was in watching the game going on. I remember being excited about every ballgame, knowing that after the game each player received a free soft drink from the concession stand. I also remember going to the concession stand and buying the long, skinny pieces of bubble gum and then putting the entire thing in my mouth. It’s a wonder I didn’t choke with all that gum in my mouth.
As I grew older, I developed a real love for baseball. At first, I was afraid. You see, in those days, we didn’t start out with T-Ball or Coach Pitch baseball. As a six year old I played against ten year olds! If you haven’t noticed, there’s a huge physical difference in those ages. And, the opposing coaches were always so smart about taking advantage of those age differences. They used the ten year olds as their pitchers! I’ll never forget coming to bat the first time against a ten year old. I’m surprised I didn’t soil my pants—I was that afraid. I learned something that night, it’s very difficult to hit a baseball thrown by a ten year old when you have your eyes closed! All I really remember from that first bat was hearing the “whooshing” sound of the ball flying by!
Over the years, I got better at playing the game. I moved from the outfield to the infield. I spent many years playing third base, the hot corner, as it is called. A third baseman has to have a good feel for the game, quick foot movement, and a strong arm to throw the ball across the infield diamond.
I always dreamed of being the next Brook Robinson—the Hall of Fame third baseman who played for the Baltimore Orioles. I always dreamed that one day I would get my shot at playing in the major leagues. I would have given anything to play professional baseball, I might even have paid them to play!
It’s funny how that love for the game and desire to play changes as a kid is drafted by a major league team and it’s no longer just about the love of the game. That love for the game quickly turns to hiring lawyers, negotiating contracts, and receiving endorsement contracts that often exceed the contract to play the game itself.
If we aren't careful in life, as we grow older, we replace fun and excitment with everyday and ordinary. We substitute joy for ritual. We no longer see the extraordinary, we only see the ordinary.
I'm wondering, have I allowed that same thing to happen in my walk with God? Have I replaced the joy of my salvation with the ordinary journey through life? Have I replaced joy with boredom?
Father, may today be a day of renewal and joy. May I see You in new places, in new ways, and with a new appreciation!