A Child’s Dream Come Alive

by May 21, 2022Best of Times, Blissful Experiences

A CHILD’S DREAM COMES ALIVE

As a little girl, I loved baseball.  When I say I loved baseball, I don’t mean I enjoyed watching it on TV for fun…occasionally.  No, I was a fanatic!  

We lived in Minnesota, so the Minnesota Twins were my team.  I knew the name of every player on the team, their uniform numbers, what position they played, and all their stats. Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew were my heroes! No one held a candle to them. I put my heart and soul into everything Minnesota Twins.

During the height of my baseball obsession, my parents bought me a transistor radio so I could listen to the day games.  Night games were off-limits because of how late they played.  Back then, I didn’t break many rules, but “no night baseball games” was one I didn’t hesitate to ignore. As soon as I was in bed, my radio and I tucked safely under the covers with no chance of being discovered, the magic of the game came alive!  Every pitch, every play, and the “Going…going…gone!” as another one of Harmon Killebrew’s powerful swings sent that baseball flying out of the park—for those 2 ½ hours, I was in pure bliss.  

One day my dad surprised me and took me to a Twins game. I loved the game before but being at a game in person…took my love for baseball to a whole new level. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine actually being inside the stadium and seeing the game played in real life in real time.  It was surreal…larger than life…especially for a third-grader.

The grounds were stunning. Everything was so perfect. The grass—so green, so beautiful, and groomed with such magnificent precision.  Every chalked line was so straight and even—as if a giant ruler had been used to make sure it was perfect. Even before the game started, I was in awe.

It only got better. As the sun started to set and daylight faded into dusk, the stadium lights came on. A magical glow settled on the entire place.  I looked around at the hundreds of people.  Everyone seemed as happy as I was to be there. They cheered and yelled with boundless enthusiasm for our team. It was an evening that an 8-year-old girl would never forget.

It felt like I had found my tribe, and for the first time, I was truly experiencing the game the way it was meant to be experienced – in person, with other lovers of the game, accompanied by my father who knew how much I would love being right in the middle of it all.  Listening under the covers was great…until that night when it became more alive and more exciting than anything I had ever imagined under the covers with my radio.

In reflection, I see similarities between my baseball experience and my walk with the Lord.  

I knew everything about my team—the roster, the positions, even the stats of each player.  I knew the game and could vividly imagine each pitch, each play, each of Killebrew’s home-run smashes as I listened enthralled under my blankets. But when my father took to that first game, when I smelled the fresh-cut grass of the outfield, heard the ball smack into the catcher’s mitt, felt the roar of the crowd as the crack of Killebrew’s bat sent the ball sailing over the 23-foot left-field wall, EVERYTHING changed.  It was hard to settle for second-hand games described by a scratchy voice on my transistor radio under the covers.  After my exhilarating personal experience of the game, I always wanted to BE THERE!  Baseball was never the same again.  

My early experiences with the Lord were awesome but as I grew older, I fell into the Christian ‘routine’— pray every day, read Scripture, do devotions, go to church, tithe, and witness to others. It served me fairly well…until it didn’t.  At a critical point, I knew…either I experience more or I walk away.

Knowing in my deepest heart I wanted more, my Heavenly Father invited me to join Him in the “Stadium of His Presence”—to experience Him and the ‘game’ of life at a level I’ve never known before. 

He let me know that the ‘game’ might not always be played on beautifully manicured outfields, the lines would at times not be quite ruler-straight, and my ‘tribe’… well, they wouldn’t always be easy to be around. In fact, the going would be hard at times, full of trials and not much would turn out as I anticipated.  However, He, my Father, would always be there by my side, victory guaranteed, and glorious eternal rewards in the end.  Having tasted ‘stadium living’, I’m always moving in that direction.

Walking up the ramps to my assigned seat on my first visit to the baseball stadium and catching glimpses of what awaited me, my little girl’s heart pounded with excitement. In a much more significant way, my now-adult heart beats with anticipation as I catch glimpses of what’s ahead.  Everything has changed.  I can’t go back.  How could I settle for a transistor radio life ever again?