My brother played on an integrated Little League team, which in Jane Austen’s Village, Virginia, in the early 1970’s, was still a fairly new thing. I don’t know how much the kids thought about it, but for many of the parents, it was their first time sitting as peers with parents of another race. My dad had been in politics, and he knew how to be at ease with everyone. That helped, I think.
One of the African-American mothers had two boys on the team, and they were both very fine athletes. But no one does everything right all the time, and there were those moments when they struck out or missed a catch or overthrew the ball. Their mama, a big woman situated in the middle of the little set of bleachers, would call out to them every time there was a disappointment: “That’s all right! I still loves ya, honey!!!”
We don’t always do things the way we want to do them. We stand with the bat on our shoulders and think we have our eyes on the ball and imagine it sailing out of the park, but instead it goes foul. We stand ready with the glove, but misjudge the catch. The lesson of the baseball game is to keep playing. Get ready to come to the plate again. Pick up your glove and play another day. Be open to the possibilities.
God is not an umpire waiting to call us “out.” God is an enthusiastic spectator, wanting us to do our best, sitting on the edge of her seat like a mother at a Little League game, calling out her love for us when we fear we have failed utterly.
“That’s all right! I still loves ya, honey!!!”