Friday, April 9th, 2021
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
— Psalm 118:24 (NRSVA) —
It was a beautiful day here in Indiana! The sky was a hue of baby blue with a northeasterly breeze, gently tossing the tree branches to and fro. The tree buds are sprouting their leaves as if welcoming a new day in God’s created world. As I was driving through the towns I saw the softball and baseball fields prepped for play, my mind was filled with echoing voices, chants and cheers of my youth. My drive took me through a few specific towns where I once played softball on their fields, many of which have been abandoned, although I could still recognize where they had once been and I smiled! As I was taking all of this in; my thoughts took me back to the people who had a huge impact in building my character, my moral compass and encouraged my abilities to play the beloved game of softball. When I played the game it felt like freedom, confidence, innocence and joy all wrapped up together. ⚾️🎁🥎
There are four distinct people who helped mold me into the person I am today. The first two are my parents. They have always been my biggest fans. My mom was relentless in her support of my love of the game of softball. She never missed a game that I played in, I would often play 3 or 4 nights a week, spanning across multiple counties. My dad, would play catch with me for hours, helping me improve my pitching and catching techniques. He was creative in finding ways to help me gain confidence and accuracy. When I was growing up, a market for training devices was not what it is now, no auto pitching/throwing devices…to aid me in accuracy of pitching. My dad placed a car tire on the side of our garage at an average height and strike zone. I would have a bucket of balls and try to pitching the ball through the opening of the tire, once I was out of balls I would retrieve them and do it all over again. When it came to batting, he would pitch a bucket of balls then after hitting them all, we retrieved them and repeated the process. My brother played baseball also for a few years and my parents did the same for him, my brother and I were truly blessed.
Patches for making the All-Stars Team 3 years in a row.
The remaining two individuals were coaches, they encouraged me to play hard, to play fair and to always do my best. They both knew the game inside and out, they taught me more about life than anything else. I feel so thankful that God placed these two wonderful men in my life. As my life went on in different directions, I did lose contact with them but their memories are fresh in my mind. One of them I knew when I was barely a teenager and he recruited me to play on his team, which was primarily older teenagers. He was very inspirational to me because he his ability to coach and teach was boundless although he himself was confined to a wheelchair. I’ll admit, my ego grew because he was so complimentary of my skill level and my ability to play with others more my senior but he never gave out accolades that were undeserving. I was fortunate that my parents encouraged my love of the game, I started playing on an organized team at the age of five. I continued playing community organized softball well into my mid-thirties, three decades of doing something that set me free. The second coach also recruited me after seeing me play in a tournament, I was in high school and the team he coached was a women’s team, much older adults but my parents agreed to let me play. It was a great experience and I appreciated not being treated like a kid, more of an equal as far as playing the game. It felt like freedom to me. This coach and I had a unique friendship and we drifted apart when I went off to college and we both began pursued our dreams. A couple of years after college life brought us back together. We reconnected and started dating, he eventually proposed and it seemed to be almost perfect. We were such good friends, he had a heart of gold and we did love each other but I was scared, and loving someone is not the same as being “in love.” I was young still in my mid-twenties and I was not ready to be a wife and everything that comes with that role. We wished each other well and continued our own personal pursuits in life. I heard that he had married and that made my heart happy. Years later while visiting with my parents I thought I would look him up, I was very saddened to learn he had passed away. He made a huge impact on my life, he had a great smile and a warm laugh.
“A joyful heart is a good medicine.”
— Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) —
Pure joy, are there things in your life that elicit such overwhelming emotions? As I mentioned above, when I think about when played softball or even practiced the game, I experience a sensation of freedom, confidence, innocence and joy. I have other memories that touch upon these emotions but not all of them at the same time. Softball, as wonderful as I have described it ranks only third on my list of “best things” ever. Number one is my relationship with God, all the blessings I have received in my life and most importantly, my salvation. Number two, my mom, she has been an inspiration to me from an early age, though I did not fully appreciate or full grasp the magnitude of her influence until she had passed in 2012. I carry her in my heart every day.
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my blog today. ~ Peace to you today and always ~
~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.