14 Apr 2015

What if You Actually Already Are Living “The Good Life”?

When Peter asked me how the kids’ baseball game was I told him, “Long and boring.”

Which was sort of true.

But there’s this other part. The part that you can miss if you’re not paying attention.

Sure, there’s lots of dirt and gravel and mud at the side of a baseball field. And it takes planning to make sure the two kids who aren’t playing have their little “sports” back packs with them filled with that random assortment of My Little Ponys, toy soliders and coloring books. Because watching for hours after an already-long day can be exhausting if you’re not on the field.

And so Zoe and Micah spread out with a blanket to the edge of the bleachers and they play in the dirt and I don’t try to stop them.

Jackson is supposed to pitch for the first time today and we’re all holding onto that excitement even as the game stretches on and still he isn’t invited up to the mound.

But in between the waiting there is so much deliciousness.

I’ve often been too tired or too distracted or too frustrated to notice it.

But as we emerge from the last sleep deprived decade, I discover nights like this – just waiting to be savored.

It’s a perfect spring evening. The sky looms large above the field and the boys are all tiny men with their measured seriousness as they step up to bat. They swing and miss and swing and miss and then sometimes they get a big hit and the smattering of parents on the stands erupts enthusiastically.

I’ve wasted a lot of time thinking glory lives in the big moments of our lives.

But on nights like this I know in my bones that the glorious ordinary is the best kind of big.

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It’s my oldest’s first season of kid pitch and they are all so unsure and also so delighted at this new challenge.

They take themselves seriously. They cheer from the dug out and the parents can’t help but grin at one another. We’re still strangers as the season kicks off but we will travel far together on these hard iron stands with their completely uncomfortable seating.

The siblings make instant friends because that’s what kids do – over coloring pages and plastic dolls. And every now and again they remember to pay attention to the game.

I find myself knee deep in conversation about our ages, our kids, our pregnancies and our plans for more (or not as the case may be) with other moms because that’s what moms do.

And in the background there are Slurpees and pretzel snacks and the inevitable trip to the port-a-potty.

The sun is warm and lazy in the late afternoon and after rushing I’m just sitting still and listening and observing and every now and again leaning over to hug my daughter as she gravitates back to me for reassurance. And my other son, the one who can be ragey and frustrated, he’s sitting next to me with an arm draped across my shoulders and he’s petting my hair with his hands that have dirt caked under the fingernails.

And still Jackson hasn’t been up to pitch.

He strikes out at bat and as I watch him walk back to the dugout I recognize his posture and go to meet him as he keeps on walking into my arms, his eyes hot with the tears he’s determined not to cry. I look him in the eye and speak the kind of courage only moms can – because our children will believe with both hands the truth we offer them. And then his little brother is there womping him on the back and telling him it’s OK and I can tell it is going to be OK.

Because the coach has called him up to pitch. The last inning of the night.

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And of course you already know this isn’t actually a post about baseball.

It’s about bearing witness to the glory that sneaks into the middle of what we think of as our “ordinary” lives.

Last night was electric with it.

I watched my son step into both his fear and his passion. I watched him set his sights on the catcher and we all watched as he took a deep breath, exhaled, and let his skinny arm rip.

We cry in these small moments because there is nothing small about them.

They are huge. They are so weighed down by the glory of heaven it makes it hard to breathe under that sunset streaked sky.

The other parents feel it too. For an hour and a half every week we share the miracle of watching our children become themselves. We get to bear witness to the miracle.

And when Jackson steps off the field after getting the third batter out, one of the dads spontaneously swings Micah high into the air, because aren’t we all in this together after all?

This time when my son pelts out of the dugout it’s because joy is splitting out of his face and that kind of delight has got to be shared. We high five him and his huge little brother comes running, all dust and sweat and glee, yelling, “That was PHE.NO.MENAL.”

And it really was.

All of it. The grief and the joy. The dirty kids playing under grandstands and the parents laughing along for the ride. The boy who missed all his hits and still walked up to the mound and pitched his nine-year-old heart out.

We go to 7-11 afterwards for Slurpees. Because of course we do.

And we hold hands across the parking lot as Zoe yells much too loudly, “I love slushees; Praise the Lord!”

 

 

Comments

{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Your writing is PHE-NO-MENOL! Everytime a post pops into my inbox, I just know its going to bless my socks off and God will use it to speak truth in my heart yet again. This is my happily ever after. I’m living it. Just because it looks nothing like what I thought it would doesn’t make it a dream come true. Thanks, Lisa-Jo.

  2. 2

    Lisa-Jo. I am a baseball mom of three boys that love to play baseball. Most of our days are spent at the fields. I still get a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach every time they are on the mound, up to bat or diving for that ball just hit their way. As they are getting older I know one day watching them play will be over. I need to cherish these days. These simple days will be etched in my heart and memory. Thank you for sharing your gift of words. Bless you.

  3. 3
    Wendy Davenport says:

    I read this as I am sitting in the school pick up line. It’s so true. It’s the everyday moments and how we handle them that shape our children. I’m afraid mine may have to go to therapy! We can find joy in the small things and you have encouraged me to make sure I do that more. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 4

    The glorious ordinary is the best kind of big. I can see #gloriousordinary on Instagram, don’t you? That would be a wonderful hashtag. People celebrating the glorious ordinary.

    I watch my boys at baseball and lacrosse and watch my little girl at ballet and get all teary. Almost every game. You explained perfectly why I do. Watching them grow right before eyes. It’s amazing to witness.

  5. 5

    You’ve transported me back years to when our son played a LOT of baseball… more as he got older and played high school and American Legion… it seemed it started in January and ended just in time for school to start in August!

    I always joked it was proof God had a sense of humor – to give a non-competitive mom kids that were truly athletic…

    I’m glad you’ve found the better thing, embracing it all… in and out of season… enjoy!!

  6. 6

    Love this post. Well, I love all your posts but this one really speaks to me as I’m knee deep in the sleep deprived decade.

  7. 7

    I love everything about this post, but there was one phrase that really grabbed me: “… watching our children become themselves.” That, right there, is one of my favorite things about being a mom. Maybe it’s because my girls, at 10 and 13, are showing me who they are more and more every day. It’s fascinating to watch, and I want it to go on forever. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that the “good life” isn’t some distant dream; it’s right here and right now.

  8. 8

    Oh my goodness! What an awesome post! It took me back…waaaayyy back…to all of those days we spent in the bleachers, and on the field, and in the gym, and at the pool. You are so right about these ordinary days that are long, and the small moments that are big. As an “older” mom looking back, the time has just flown. Three of our 4 are now young adults…and the baby is finishing up his last weeks of high school. I promise you will miss the days of dirt and sweat and stink and 7-11 trips. And I promise there are good times, awesome times…ahead. Thank you for this reminder to start looking at what’s right in front of us…the good life. :)

  9. 9

    Not a baseball mom but I am a soccer mom and have been for 15 years now. I can so relate. I thought just over a year ago that my years of sitting in a camp chair on the sidelines were over and then my son found out he could play at a local Christian private school even though he is homeschooled. I have to admit at first I was like “another 4 years” but then when his last game for the local community league ended I was like “yes, another 4 years!”. It has been so fun watching my boys (his older brother played for years too) develop on the field. To hoot and holler and cheer them on. When I have to put that camp chair away in another 4 years I will probably cry (oh wait! perhaps the future grand kids will play!)

  10. 10
    Heather E says:

    I just love your blog. You are one of my favs! I too, am one of the worst baseball moms! I have such a hard time paying attention…….but, it is glorious. I love the sounds, the smells and the look of my child in a shirt that is 2 sizes too big and a hat that is too small. I always sit there and say “Lord, help me remember this when this season n life is over. Help me appreciate the small and the mundane, because they truly are huge.” Oh, motherhood…the best and hardest job ever. But, it is a glorious job.

  11. 11

    someday you will read about a mom watching her son play little league and you will think, “I miss those days”, and surprise your grandmotherly self.

  12. 12

    What a beautiful sunset shot! Happy for your son that he got to pitch his first game. :-)

  13. 13

    “We cry in these small moments because there is nothing small about them.
    They are huge. They are so weighed down by the glory of heaven it makes it hard to breathe under that sunset streaked sky.”

    Isn’t that the truth? I loved this post. There IS beauty in the ordinary details of our lives. With five kids at home, sometimes I have to remind myself to look for it amidst the craziness. Thanks for being that reminder for me today.

  14. 14

    I love Slushies, too! Praise the Lord!

  15. 15

    Such a well-written reminder of the truth I seek to live each day. Thank you for sharing, your words have added light and beauty to my day.

  16. 16

    You are always an inspiration! so Praise the Lord for you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] What if You Actually Already Are Living “The Good Life”? […]

  2. Soul Stops says:

    Is being “ordinary” a sin?

    Is being “ordinary” a sin?

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