Baseball Bat

I read this morning a newspaper story about a man who took a baseball bat into a bar and tried to kill his wife’s lover. What a terrible use of a baseball bat. For those of you who haven’t experienced it, one of God’s gifts is a baseball bat hitting a ball square in the grooves. Try it if you haven’t, no matter what your age, and if you have it is a feeling that stays with you forever.

The newspaper story was awful, but not unusual — a man or woman misusing a tool that is meant to bring pleasure. I got to thinking how often I have misused the tools and gifts God gave me, and how meditation is a perfect opportunity to inventory those tools and put them to their proper use — the purpose for which God bestowed them on us.
Grandma Danny knew the true purpose of the Bible (read yesterday’s Pew). It is never to be used as a weapon or an instrument of hate. If one believes that the Bible is an instrument of God,  then when should it ever be used for anything other than love? Exclusion, judgment, injustice, and discrimination are not the instruments of God. To use the Bible toward those ends is not God’s way.
In A Few Good Men the character Daniel said, “I can’t think without my bat. I think better with my bat.” What tool do you need to serve God’s purpose for you, if you don’t possess it, ask him and he will provide.

Alphabetical Blessings

Grandma Danny inserted in her bible a typewritten sheet listing 26 blessing we all receive from God. One beginning with each letter in the alphabet from A to Z. Each blessing has a reference to the Bible as well. The first is the letter A. The Blessing is for “Acceptance, which can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).”

In case you want to go on your own treasure hunt I won’t go further for now, but will on occassion unearth another nugget of treasure discovered by Danny.
What I find so fascinating and admirable is Grandma Danny didn’t mine the Bible for sins, abominations, or what others can’t or shouldn’t do. She didn’t underline “thou shall not’s.” Instead, she very methodically documented 26 different alphabetical blessings which she was thankful for receiving. There is a wonderful lesson here for all of us.

Mistake Free Life

Coaches entreat their athletes to play in the championship game with no regrets after it has been played — to play leaving it all on the field, mistake free, and giving their very best on every play. Problem is what is suggested by the coach is not realistic. Mistakes will be made, exhaustion mental and physical will cause lapses, and because of one’s failure to play there absolute best, the athlete second guesses his or her performance for days, weeks, or lifetimes. I’ve always said the mark of great quarterbacks and athletes in general is the ability to put the last play, golf swing, tennis point, shot, etc. behind one and to continue to play on with no short term memory of one’s mistakes.

 

Life mirrors sports in that regard. We can try to live life to the fullest, error-free, giving one’s very best every waking hour, but we all fall short. We have two choices to dwell on our failures for a few days, weeks, or a lifetime, or to bounce back up and try again. A parent can be disappointed in a child, but never stops loving one’s child. We should treat ourselves likewise, God certainly does.

 

Each morning begins a new adventure, a new game, learn from one’s mistakes, but never dwell, for when you look back you can’t see where you are heading.

Beach Lessons

I have had the wonderful chance to go to the beach not once but twice, this summer.

I recalled as I watched the surf, that if your faith and hope are focused solely on God then you know what it’s like to have your feet firmly planted on solid ground. If your faith and hope are directed toward material matters and worldly acclaim then you are far out from shore standing on your toes in the ocean. When you become tired and ready to come back to God’s comfortable shore, the waves of the world are of no help. They may be going the way you wish to travel and for the moment may lift you with hope at their crests. But these waves carry nothing with them. They will go forward by themselves, leaving you to the mercy of the current.
We delude ourselves to believe that after spending a long time in the ocean we won’t desire solid ground beneath our feet.