Dodgers fan that I have always been I enjoyed returning to the game this year after having absented myself from baseball for some years. I again enjoyed getting caught up in all the excitement that ensues as your team does well and gets closer and closer to the ultimate win, hopeful that this is your year. Though we took the World Series to the 7th game, in the end, the Dodgers did not win. Disappointing as that was it was okay because the year hadn’t been primarily about winning or losing. Ultimately it was more about God and how he was allowing my faith to grow deeper and richer, using a renewed appreciation for baseball as an avenue to that end.
This catalyst for faith started out innocently enough last October when I bit the bullet, opened a Twitter account, and decided to start following the Dodgers. As I got reacquainted with the current players through their daily tweets, and as they began to win game after game, I found myself starting to talk baseball to those around me, friend and stranger alike, opening myself up more than I normally do. In the process a funny thing happened along the way—I began to see the beauty of our Lord more clearly as I thoroughly immersed myself in the game and the conversations that came my way. I began to be filled with a desire beyond this world and didn’t want to limit my enthusiasm to baseball. I wanted to also bring my whole self into all that I do for our Lord, for I am his first. The Sh'ma (Deut. 6:4-7) was echoing in my heart, commanding me to bring all my heart, soul, and strength to the Lord. Jesus was using my renewed enthusiasm in baseball to draw me closer to himself through fellow fans he was putting in my path and the delightful conversations that ensued.
Sometimes we seem afraid to love God in the world, in worldly things, as if we can’t find good and holiness in our daily activities. I began to see though, that in all things that opens us up to the other, truly in this Jesus is present, becoming a wellspring that good comes from. But enthusiasm, whether for sports or God, is not always easy to maintain. It dissipates and needs to be found afresh. There’s much work to be done, but I have seen some changes in me that, hopefully, are lasting—most recently when I gave my talk about my faith journey to our RCIA group I could tell I was more sure of myself in a situation I would not have been so comfortable with previously (and in the past I might not have even agreed to be a speaker)—and I will seek out ways that will keep the work the Lord has begun growing. I pray we all allow the Lord to work in us. Let God overwhelm you. Oh, and, Go Dodgers!
Confusion can go hand in glove with faith. Things aren’t always clear in our faith life and we can be just a little befuddled as our peanut peddler is in this classic baseball skit. But if we stick with it things will become a touch clearer.
10 Nov 2017