“What is life, after all, but a challenge? And what better challenge can there be than the one between the pitcher and the hitter.” ~ Warren Spahn
I know that I am on very shaky ground here: talking sports when I barely watch and/or follow them a lick. However, yesterday afternoon, I was working in my “office annex”, better known as the back deck of the house. I was working on bulletin articles as well as this daily meditation whilst a baseball tournament was going on in the field adjacent to our parish property. So, I am going to make some sport comments and if my metaphors are all wrong, it is because I do not know the games well enough.
While there are many players in the sport of baseball — short stop, center field, left field, right field, first, second, and third base — it appears that the main competition, when everything else is boiled down, is between the pitcher and the batter. The pitcher has one job: to take down the batter. To strike the batter out and make the batter hit to someone in the field who can catch the ball and have the batter called out. The batter’s job, on the other hand, is to foil the pitcher’s effort and, if possible to hit a run. Not only hit a run; but, hit a point scoring run.
The pitcher, for his part, employs a host of throws. Some are curve balls, some are fast balls, some are much slower, some appear to be aimed for the batter to “brush” the batter away from the plate. In intimidating the batter with the variety of well placed pitches, the pitcher wants to see the batter fail, preferably by striking out. The thing a pitcher most desires is a perfect game, in which no batter reaches a base either by striking the batters out or by having their hits caught.
In many ways, our spiritual life is like a baseball game. Life employs all its craft against us trying to strike us out. It does its best to throw the balls at us that will cause us to swing and miss. Our coach, the Lord, is like the patient coach in the tournament telling us to calm down, to focus, not to get distracted, to watch for the perfect pitch, and then to swing with all our might.
You know something? Some of those balls get hit awfully hard and they sail beyond the reach of the outfielders and garner runs for the team. Therein lies another truth about life: we are on a team. None of us are alone. We belong to something larger — the family of God — and we are all responsible for one another. If we encourage each other, drawing out the best in one another, nothing will be able to stop us.
Calm down. Focus. Be patient. Do not get distracted. And then swing with all your might as if everything depends on it. It just might.
FAITH ACTION: Take the time you need to pray today so that you can center yourself and reflect upon the goodness of God.