(HUQUMMA Sundays Series)
Yesterday, we watched our son and daughter play what will most likely be their last “real” basketball games.
They were competing in their district tournament; and while I know that most people are more sports-driven than I am, I still couldn’t help but chuckle at the passion (insanity?) of some of the parents, coaches and participants. You’d think they were competing in the NBA, not some private school association tournament, mostly filled with segregation academies that rarely graduate more than fifty kids these days. (That’s a whole discussion for another day. I’ll put a pin in that one for now.)
I don’t take my children’s ability to play sports for granted.
We are lucky we’ve been at a very small school that has allowed them that privilege. Even with my rose-tinted mom goggles, I realized my children might not have made the team at the larger public school down the street from us.
Many boys and girls dream of the one day when they will…
Run a company.
Write a book.
I thought about my own childhood dreams on the drive home.
The hour and a half drive left me with plenty of time to reminisce on days gone by.
When I was a little girl, I loved to sing, dance and perform. Being on stage, dressing up, putting on faces…that was my schtick.
Not caring for any of those things today (I don’t even really like musicals) I understand now that I was desperately wanting to be seen and heard. Valued and loved. Noticed and cared for.
It’s not that I didn’t have parents, and it’s not that they didn’t love me. It’s that, even as a child, I could see that they had their own set of struggles, and I didn’t want to take up additional space.
Being a mama with a flawed childhood makes me cringe. I know that without meaning to, I did the same thing to my own children–made them think there just wasn’t enough space. My head was too full.
There were times that choices like that were placed on my shoulders, and, not understanding future consequences, I will admit to making the wrong decision almost every time.
Where does blame get placed when there’s nowhere for it to go?
Does responsibility disappear with forgiveness?
Can bad choices eventually be seen as God’s Providence?
Does God’s Providence erase horrific hurt?
I don’t know.
I’ve found myself saying I don’t know a lot lately.
I don’t know the answer to your question about Creation.
I don’t know the reason why things happen the way they do.
I don’t know what I think about certainty when it comes to a mysterious God.
I don’t know.
What I’m seeing is that the “I don’t knows” of life drive many to say, “I don’t believe.”
They give up on any kind of something because their answers turn up nothing.
That kind of despair is not only disheartening, but also terrifying.
Where there is disillusionment, there is trouble…right?
What if there’s not?
What if it’s not only okay, but completely normal, to question God?
What if He’s big enough to handle my human concern?
What if He’s already built within the framework of humanity, the capacity to seek and find?
And when finding doesn’t come easily, to lie in wait–and, even with that discomfort–to be okay? Content, even?
What if He really is love? What if He really is joy and peace and blessing and all those many things we so desperately need Him to be?
Track with me here, but what if our faith walk was like a ball game?
My youngest son loved basketball, don’t get me wrong. He likes any sport, and has played just about all of them, golf, lacrosse, football, too. But baseball has always been Bear’s jam.
Maybe I’m an overthinker, but baseball games remind me a lot of our journey with God.
Seven innings, some slow, some flying. Some confusing and some perfectly clear.
Some innings filled with monotony, and some filled with action.
The fans are cheering and jeering. The players are succeeding and failing.
The umpires, ruling the game, make some good calls and some bad ones. They are human, after all.
But the overall game is sweet. There is joy in the journey from first inning to seven.
And in the end, the players are okay. Some are battered and bruised, some have lost that particular game.
Deep down, they’re all winning because they have a love for the game.
What matters more than anything in those hours they play is that they all work together. If one stumbles, the others lift that one up. No one takes too much credit, even if in one particular game, some do more work than others.
They love each other because they love the game.
Like a baseball game, my faith journey has had highs and lows.
I’ve both screamed at God and begged Him to choose me. I’ve thought of myself as a Vessel of Truth and a Vessel of Wrath. I’ve hated myself and loved myself.
I’ve hit home runs and struck out.
The best action I’ve ever taken in my life was to stay in the game.
To change some positions (my thoughts about God and who He is), to give up some things that were holding me back (drinking, judging, and distracting), and to commit to finishing.
It’s a privilege we have to be able to choose to love the game.
I won’t take that privilege lightly. I won’t fake my beliefs, stop asking questions, or refuse to love the earth and all that is in it.
I won’t give up believing.
Like the players on the field, I have important people watching.
They need to see that it’s okay to not have all the answers…
And to still love the game just the same.
See you soon,
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