Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seeing God and Post-Game Fireworks

                It’s every father’s privilege to take his son to a baseball game.  Circumstances during said game could alter that expression.  It’s every father’s right.  It’s every father’s duty.  Hey, I’m just the father here, what did I do to deserve this?  Who’s stickin’ pins in my doll??  Progress or regress is in the eye of the beholder.
                I will stick with progress and privilege.
                Our recent trip to the “old ball game” reinforces that for me.   This game was written by an ancient Greek.  There’s The Iliad, The Odyssey and Saturday night’s game between the Charleston RiverDogs and the Augusta GreenJackets.  Baseball can be epic enough for 9 innings, but this one lasted 14 plus the promise of fireworks and kids run the bases afterwards.  It turned out to be a long night at the ballpark.
                My son hung out the whole game with 2 friends from his little league team.  I found a handful of church members to sit with, and as I strolled around the concourse, I ran into more folks from First Baptist, one of them was even throwing out the first pitch.
                My church friends were not inclined to be up past their bedtimes, especially on a Saturday night with great expectations of Sunday School, worship services and committee meetings on the horizon.  My crowd began to dwindle from the end of regulation up to the top of the 11th.  I tried to sit with the little league parents, but their view was obstructed and I wasn’t about to endure extra innings sitting behind a post.
                Charleston eventually sent Achilles to sulk in his tent 5-3.  It was finally fireworks time.  I had a good seat for them.  My son and his buddies had a better view with tickets to sit on the field for the show.  I sat by myself with very few people around me.
                Throughout the fireworks show I noticed that I wasn’t reacting like I should.  I had no ooh’s and ah’s.  I lacked for delight.  I felt like something was missing.  “These fireworks are a bunch of duds,” I remarked to myself.
                To be fair to the fireworks, it was me not you.  Nobody told you what a rough week I’d had.  You shouldn’t watch fireworks feeling sorry for yourself.  The two just don’t go together.
                After the finale I got up from my solitary spot and I discovered another family from church who’d also stuck it out to the end.  I mentioned to the adults how I felt.  “Maybe these were good fireworks for a 9 inning game,” I pondered, “We might have needed something more for getting through 14.”
In the middle of our musing about fireworks I heard a voice yell, “Chip, what are you doing here?”  It was their daughter, a four year old firecracker by her own right. She had just looked up, noticed me and figured out who I was.  Her greeting blessed me back into progress and privilege, and my heart and soul were healed, and I looked up to watch my son flying around the bases.
The Old Testament superhero Elijah had a bad day once.  One threat had him running south and hiding in a cave.  While he was up there an earth shaking, rock splitting “fireworks show” started, but God wasn’t in the earthquake or the fire or the wind.  Nope.  After all the commotion, came the sound of sheer silence and the still, small voice of God asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
So, Elijah and I now have a little something in common.  God spoke to both of us using the exact same words and helped us get our minds right (hearts and souls, too).

I have noticed a refrain in some of my prayers recently.  “God, help me see you.”  Well, God wasn’t in the fireworks, but I did get to see, hear and delight in God’s presence because one of the owners of the kingdom led me back into it.  I wish I’d sat by her for the fireworks.

No comments: