One Man Baseball

There wasn’t another boy in the neighborhood outside with him. I looked at the thermometer and noticed it was 105 at 5:20 pm. None of that seemed to matter, as the bat was on his shoulder while his other hand gripped a worn, dark baseball. Soon it was thrown high in the air and the oversized bat came off his shoulder and connected with the ball. In a high arc the ball travelled in the air as the bat was cast aside, while he went racing toward first base. It was clear he wasn’t going to stop, rounding first he was off to second in a flash, touching the pole with his hand before heading to third, while completing another infield homerun.
As I watched in my mirror he was smiling as he ran to get the ball, then picked up his bat to hit again. The sweat had plastered his hair to his head, his cheeks were flushed, and the jeans had gaping holes at the knees from a few too many slides into home, but he was all smiles.
I kept watching in my rear view mirror as my little friend ignored the heat to continue his game, playing alone, but hearing the cheers of the crowd in his imagination as he stepped to the plate to bat again.
Why does he do it? Why, during the heat of the day, is he out there swinging a bat at the ball all alone?
I suspicion it is because no one else wants to face the oppressive heat. I can’t imagine mom or dad wanting to play a game of baseball right now. His siblings were clearly not interested in being on the team. But he is there, swinging away.
There wasn’t another person awake in the house. Alone, and in a room with all the lights out, a soft voice raises its appeal toward God. A mother whispers a word of hope for her baby, a father intervenes for his wayward son, a struggling saint appeals for forgiveness and more strength for the next day.
By the light of a single bulb in the stillness of the night, lips quietly move as the worn pages are turned and the familiar words are read once more. The paradox of the meek’s inheritance or the sonship of a peacemaker is laid in a heart after a day of struggle. A slowly nodding head that agrees with the words, as tears flow from a heart that has seen so many battles.
Then, in the arena of heaven, necks crane…eyes are fixed on the face with renewed conviction, as the witnesses observe the peace of God settle within the soul. The struggling prayer is transposed into a voice of praise as angels relieve tension and the burdens are lifted.
Front-yard baseball games, late night prayers, or early morning Scripture reading have important similarity. It isn’t done for others, there will be no clean fresh uniforms nor will it make sense to observers. They take place because of the love of the game, the need to express what is within you. Others may shake their heads in disbelief… we will tag third and head for home as our lips move quietly in prayer.


About Checking The Mail

I am Carl Feril, a minister and Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist. I am married to Janet, who is far better than I deserve, and have two wonderful sons. CW is living in Waterloo, KS and is married to Kelly through whom I have 4 step-grandsons and 10 great-grandkids. Orrin lives here in St John and is married to Meagan, and they have Jayce and Mara. God has blessed me beyond measure and I hope to share all those blessings with others.
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