I’m cannot fathom what I was thinking. I mulled this over as I stood in the outfield, trying to hear myself think above the chattering of my own teeth. One hand gloved I wrapped both arms around myself, a futile attempt to stay warm. Contemplating the consequences of commitment I regretfully realized that I knew exactly what Jesus would do and frankly at that moment I wished I wasn’t so sure.
What in the world made me think that joining a women’s softball team was a good idea? Feeling more like a spectator than a participant I watched the action taking place in the game before me. After the first game I had been strategically “re-located” to the far right field. I’m not certain but I think perhaps the balls that I consistently missed both on the ground (I watched it roll right through my legs) and in the air ( I was sure I had it until it landed about three feet behind me) had something to do with their decision. So, in the quiet stillness of right field, I took advantage of the inaction and searched for the life lesson the Lord had for me even in this.
I have to admit I was surprised at my own lack of athletic ability. I have always been a can-do kind of girl. When others shrink away from new challenges due to fear, my train of thought tends to run more consistently upon the tracks of “Why not me?, If other people can do it, then so can I.”
After all, I had been watching my son play baseball since He was five years old. That means for the past five years I have spent countless hours at practices and games cheering and coaching from the stands. I learned quickly that nicknames of “sugar” and “honey” attached to any kind of encouragement made the aforementioned encouragement null and void so substituting a more generic “Buddy” or “Son” in their place I had become quite an effective sideline baseball expert / cheerleader. It was easy, from the viewpoint of the bleachers, to see mistakes being made and how they could have been avoided. It was easy, after a game, to gently remind my son of those areas that could be improved that would in turn transform his “good” playing skills into “great” playing skills. It was easy to encourage him during his little league season in right field that everyone on the team is important and it didn’t really matter what position you played.
Now, standing on the far side of right field as the direct consequence of my own less than stellar softball playing skills I was feeling a little pouty and dejected. I now understood the tears that would stream down his face after a game spent in the outfield; I now understood the embarrassment of a mistake made in the view of so many staring eyes.
Many times I have found myself becoming frustrated with other Believers. I can easily look into their lives, deducing a quick judgment call and think “If you would just do this your life would be so much better.” Sometimes the very answer that seems so apparent to me seems to be the very thing to which they are blinded.
As I stand in right field for the remainder of this playing season I will remember that some things seem much easier when you are not the one in the midst of them. What others need when they are struggling is our unconditional love, support and prayer. What they do not need is our judgment.
Father, help me to love as you love.