Stepping Up to the Plate of Life

Dear Reader:

Don’t we all remember those butterflies in our stomachs when it came our turn to bat…as a child or youth? As much time as we spent dreaming about making that home run in the ninth ending with the bases loaded to win the game…all those dreams would evaporate quickly in the reality of the moment when the pitcher stared us down with nods and smug looks at the catcher.

In elementary school I was a pretty good batter…not great…but good enough so the other kids on the team didn’t moan and groan or “boo” 🙂 when it was my turn to bat. I only remember maybe two times when I actually hit a home run; more times striking out…but all the failures dissipated with that one beautiful “crack” sound as the bat hit the ball firmly and it went sailing  over the fence or in the farthest section of the outfield.

One good hit could remove all the earlier strike-outs from my memory.

It was while I was watching Jake play one of his last games a few weeks ago that those memories of playing baseball at school and in the neighborhood came rolling back. And then suddenly I had an epiphany!

The same base where we stand completely exposed to a crowd of families, friends, and strangers….praying we can hit the ball and not let anyone down…the coach or team players or parents…is the same base that will be “home” to us…the place where success and accomplishment lies.

Isn’t this true of life? It is in the places and events of our lives that challenge us the most…that also can provide the same site where we overcome our personal challenges and slide into achievement and victory.

Think about it…The Bible is full of examples of people who embraced leadership, even when it wasn’t popular and even when they didn’t always feel adequate. David slew Goliath; Moses confronted Pharaoh in Egypt; Noah built an ark;  Daniel faced the lions’ den; and Jesus paid the ultimate price. God never equips us with a burden or a vision, without ever providing the means to carry it through to the end.

So when it comes our turn to step up to bat…we know we are not alone while we wait on the challenge, the ball, to be thrown our way.

I remember reading one time that in the history of baseball the greatest hitters of this sport also had the most strike-outs. In other words…they were never going to just stand there completely immobile and pray the pitcher threw four “balls” so they could get a ‘walk” to first. …NO…if they struck out …they were going down swinging.

When it comes to doing our part to bring an end to the coronavirus…doesn’t it stop with each of us doing what medical professionals and research recommendations say….Remember our personal freedoms only go as far as not infringing on the whole and taking others freedoms away by our personal choices. In other words…we all need to step up to plate and do what is necessary to get rid of this virus once and for all. This game has been going on way too long….

No one should want to be the spoiled kid who announces that he is taking his bat home (assuring that nobody else can play since it is the only bat) and not playing the game anymore. Nobody likes a pouter and /or a quitter. 🙂

So until tomorrow…Let us all remember in our personal leadership roles to take the role of “servant.”

The Bible says in Matthew 23:11 (NIV): “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

We must learn to stop trying to do things that we consider to be great in our own eyes, or that we believe will get us the approval of others, and start focusing on serving the people we claim to lead or the communities we claim to serve. We must lead in a way that we are focused on doing a whole lot of small things in a great way, without worrying about whether or not we will get the credit for it. Effective leadership is “servant leadership.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Well….Eloise isn’t concerned about “stepping up to the plate” quite yet…she is more interested in tutu’s, ballet, and tap 🙂

I can’t end a blog post about baseball without ending it with my  favorite movie of 1984 (etc.) The Natural...with Robert Redford.

Okay, okay…I admit a lot of critics didn’t care for it…they said it was more about Redford than baseball…but then critics aren’t middle-aged starry-eyed female fans who will watch Redford play any sport or role he wishes…and the more he is in the scenes…the happier we gals are. “Oh Bobby…if our paths had just crossed”…maybe in a parallel life, huh? 🙂

 

***Sometimes… don’t you just feel like throwing a prayer up into the universe to ask for compassion and blessings for everyone on this day, August 19, who is facing health issues, uncertainty about the future, sadness or loss to hear our voices in prayer…no matter where you are or who you are…all God’s children deserve each and everyone of our gifts of prayer each day of our lives.

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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