Monday, June 18, 2012

Heart Contenders

The dust has settled. Our first season of little league, coach pitch baseball is over.  Last Friday night Noah played his final game of the tournament.  For three nights in a row he and his teammates ate dust, and sweat, and victory, and yes, defeat.  But every night they showed up, fully present, playing till the last ball was thrown, the last hitter swung.  As coach said, they never gave up.  Which is all he could have asked of them.

I'm very proud.  Not because they played well with teams that had previously beat the socks off of them.  But because they kept playing.  When they got hit with the ball they kept playing.  When they missed the grounder they kept playing.  When they got out they kept playing.  When they were down so far we thought they would never get back up, they kept playing.  They may have been down multiple times, they they were never out.  They were never out of the game.

It hadn't always been like that.  There were times during the season when I could feel the energy shift in the middle of a game, and they would just give up.  Something in their hearts and minds would decide the game was over, and they would stop playing.  Perhaps they got intimidated.  Maybe they started looking at the scoreboard instead of the next play.  Sometimes it was simply exhaustion leaking out of the pores, flooding the field with apathy.  Those nights were so frustrating, so heartbreaking.  I would sit back in my chair and watch the pitiful outcome of not caring.

When tournament time began my prayer for them was always for their hearts.   My husband probably saw my fervency in being the sideline mom and thought differently.  He probably thought I was praying they would win.  Does God care about stuff like that?  Probably not.  But I do believe God cares about the condition of our hearts and our capacity to live life open hearted, fully present, giving ourselves to fully to each day.  So I stood on the sidelines a silent prayer on my lips:  "Oh God, I contend for their hearts!"

I can't help but wonder what this would look like in my own life.  What would it look like if everyday I never gave up and never gave in?  What would it look like if I lived open hearted, fully present, unrestrained giving of myself to the day before me?  I know I want that for my boys.  It's a bit intimidating to want it for myself.  But if I were honest, I do.  I want to live with heart.

At the end of the last game each of Noah's coaches took a moment to express what the season meant to them.  One of them said that in all the teams he's coached, this team showed more heart than any others he's been with in a long time.  I couldn't help but feel like God answered my prayers.

No comments: