Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Just One

"not one sparrow falls to the ground
  apart from your Father's will"
Matthew 10:29

Baseball season is now in full swing {get it??} and the weather has now become Early Summer in Southern California.  I'm hopeful, however, that winter will come back for a visit before it's completely gone.

So last Saturday I found myself sitting in a lawn chair on a beautiful day, delighting in green grass and blue skies and 13 and 14-year-olds enjoying America's pastime. 

And I found myself keeping score.

Now, I love keeping score.  When my family goes to baseball games, I generally keep score.  I guess I just like the numbers, and getting completely involved in the details of the game.  But I am not a regular scorekeeper for Little League.  Partially because I don't think I'd be as reliable as they'd like a team scorekeeper to be.  The Apple of my Eye always assistant-coaches for our son's team, which means if there's a baseball/volleyball conflict in our schedule, I'm with our daughter at her tournament.

But the other reason I've never volunteered to be a regular scorekeeper is that I'm not sure I would be able to do it to their specifications.  I kinda have my own way of making notes.  I'll give you an example of my style, but first here's a crash course, in case scorekeeping is new to you.

Each position has a number.  Pitcher = 1, Catcher = 2, 1B = 3, etc.  So when an out is made in the field ~ say, the batter hit the ball to the pitcher, who threw it to the first baseman for the out ~ that would be marked as 1-3.  A fly out to the centerfielder would be F8.  Fairly simple, right?

But some scorekeepers like a lot more markings in the box.  Maybe a line indicating where in the field the ball was hit; maybe an indication if a runner advanced due to a stolen base, wild pitch or passed ball, etc.  So I'm not sure my way of scorekeeping would be what they want.

Also, I have been known to indicate the circumstances of an out on the basepath this way: "4-5, DBR".  That means that the 2nd baseman threw it to the 3rd baseman to get the runner out, with an assist to Dumb Base-Running on the part of the runner.  My dad taught me that.  But you're not gonna find that in the Official How To Keep Score handbook.  If there is such a thing...

At any rate, it was fun for me to keep score, with my hubby guiding me as to how the team wanted it done.  I like the feeling of notching every at-bat on the score sheet.  I like the idea that every little thing is an accomplishment in some way.  Even a strike-out can be encouraging if the boy swung instead of just standing still.  But there are very few strike-outs, so almost everything is good.

And line by line, box by box, hash mark by hash mark, I watched the game play out.  But it's so much more than just a game.  It's a series of very small achievements.  \ \ \ \ ...  One in the "At Bat" box.  One in the "Hit" box...  Batters come up one at a time, and I was acutely aware of each one.  I was appreciating each one.

Here's my point... My kitty died a few days ago.  She was in our lives for almost ten years, and then suddenly she was gone.  I was with her as she passed, and that evening we buried her in our backyard, under the apple tree.  It was sunset at the time, which was lovely, and as we all stood in the backyard, and I had one arm around each of my kids, I heard a noise above us.  It was the wild parrots who live in our neighborhood, squawking and screeching as they flew overhead.

They show up most evenings when the weather is nice, always around sunset, and often we run outside to try to see them.  They are primarily green, with a little blue and red, so they are really hard to see when they are in the surrounding eucalyptus trees.  So when I get a really good glimpse of them, I'm excited.

I looked up, and there were about six of them, flying low down, easily seen.  I looked up, happy to see them as usual.  But then I thought that even as much as I thrill to hear and see these beautiful, exotic birds, if one of them were missing, I wouldn't know it.  There are as many as 20 of them at any one time, and if one of them died, I would have no way of knowing.  And I felt unexpectedly guilty that I couldn't fully appreciate each lovely bird.

In a way, I think it's for the best.  I'm grieving the loss of my sweet, soft, little companion, and if I had to feel the loss of every critter in my habitat, it would be a weight I could not bear.  And I wonder how He does it.

It leaves me grateful for His knowledge of each of us.  His love for each of us.  You are His beloved, each one of you.  Just as she was mine.

~ "the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore;
you are of more value than many sparrows" ~
Matthew 10:30-31

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