Weekly Message from T. J.

In The Garden

It’s so quiet there. The view from the road around it contains the very embodiment of the patience of a saint. If only the same could be said for the viewer, me. It’s the day before the first game to be played in Les Murakami Stadium in more than a year, and I’m already trying to figure out how I will get to watch the game. No fans are allowed in the stadium, but I live only steps away. On my walk the other day, I hopped up on a high terraced retaining wall, and the view was great. That might do nicely.

I’m not shy about my love of baseball or the love I have for the Rainbow Warriors. I’ll do just about anything to watch a live game. Even if I feel totally outside of the experience, I won’t care. It might actually be fun. I’ll be able to bring a cooler and some (vegan) snacks. I suspect that security might object to my positioning a beach chair on a terraced garden, but only time (and a befuddled security guard) will tell.

There is something alluring about the chance to be a little outside of the mix, too. Many of us spend our time trying to be in the middle of things, in with the crowd. But there are also many who enjoy staying on the perimeter, enjoying a little anonymity when we are trying new things or attending something. This is even true at church. Some folks coming to a service for the first time don’t really want to chat with anyone, and especially not a stranger. They want to sit (in the back) and receive some perspective or some healing from the experience of worship.

And I am imaging watching a baseball game fifty feet from the outfield fence, where there is no one in the stands. I am wondering if a bat cracks and there’s no one there to hear it, did it make a sound? But I am sure that the game, perhaps purified of some of the antics, jeers, and beloved songs, will go on. The fate of the competitors will still be decided. The message of the contest, win or loss, will be received by all in the end, whether there are any fans there to witness it at all.

Maybe it is when no one is watching—when we catch what we receive and toss back what we want to let go of—when the game is tested most. In crowds or even with a partner, we might go along with another’s play. But alone, eluding detection, it is only us and the game at hand. We decide alone how our game will go. Sitting on the outside of the arena, maybe we wait for a call of comfort or a sign of grace, perhaps with the patience of a saint. Or maybe we swing at a pitch out over the plate, connecting at long last, and launch a ball to a strange man cheering alone in beach chair planted in the terraced garden, while we round the bases, wondering what might be wrong with him, heading for home.

And may it ever be so.

Many blessings on this season, friends.
Rev. T. J.

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