My xis year old son, DJ, played in his first kickball game yesterday. I had the pleasure of refereeing the game. The game was our opening event for anew ministry at church – Fit for Jesus. But that’s a blog entry for another day.
The players’ ages ranged from 5 to 12 years, with two 17 year olds as captains. It was the most beautiful display of organized chaos I have had the honor to direct in quite some time. The three adults present, myself being one of them, assumed that every child knew the rules of kickball. Even if they had never played before, they had seen, or participated in baseball before. Right? We must have all thought that because we kept saying “It’s just like baseball”.
We (the adults) would intermittently need to yell “Time!” in order to explain, and in several instances re-explain, the basic rules of the game. I must admit that it was very difficult to control my tongue and tone and not sarcastically ask, “Really, y’all? Didn’t you hear us JUST explain what happens when someone catches a fly ball?”
The first couple of innings DJ didn’t get to kick because he was seventh or eight in the lineup. A sense of pride swelled up inside of me when he finally stepped up to the plate. His first kick was a strike. He made contact with his second and took off running. Unfortunately, it was a foul and he had to return to home. But his third kick was good and I cheered for him while he ran to first. With the next player’s play, DJ was able to advance to second. While at second he couldn’t contain his excitement. He danced on top of second plate, and again when he made it to third. The third out took place before he could make it home. But he didn’t care, and neither did I. I enjoyed watching him run from plate to plate and how he danced while waiting at each plate.
During the second to last inning DJ scored his first run ever in a kickball game. I called his name from across the field and we gave each other a long distance air high-five. Now before you cry favoritism, I cheered on all the kids. I may not have given them all a long distance high-five, but hey, it was his first time scoring in a kickball game.
DJ’s team was losing but the game became close during the third inning. The game ended in the firth with a 16-16 tie. While several of the kids were disappointed, DJ was pumped. It was his first kickball game and his team didn’t lose. We lined the kids up and had them do the “good game” walk.
Earlier this morning it dawned on me that ht experience I had watching DJ play in his first kickball game is how God views our lives. He watches with anticipation as we attempt to do something new for the first time. He cheers us on as that first kick is a strike, and even when the second one is a foul ball. He screams for us to run when our kick is good. All the while His heart swells with pride. Not because we’re doing particularly well, but because we’re enjoying the experience and giving it our all. And when we look confused about the rules of the game, He doesn’t have to force Himself to hold his tongue or watch His tone. He doesn’t grow impatient, or become sarcastic. he lovingly reminds us of His commandments and promises, and pats us on our bottoms as He tells us to get back in the game.
I am stepping up to the plate in my own life, doing things I have never done before – this blog being one of them. Strike, foul, or home run; win or lose; I will walk in the blessed assurance that my Coach is cheering me on. He is watching from the outfield, filled with anticipation, His heart swelling with pride simply because I’m giving it all and trusting Him with the outcome.