Life happens in the locker room. This morning, for instance, I saw a friend whose husband is running for political office. In recent weeks, the race has become an ugly, media-driven, increasingly public event. We chatted briefly, she trying to tell me the truth behind the public portrayal. I listened, and then I wanted to impart some hope; so I chose to talk about my youngest son.
“When Adam was pitching, he always stood on the mound and appeared completely unfazed by any razzing and taunts and even utter rudeness by the opposing team’s fans,” I began. “Knowing how much it angered me, I had to ask him how he could appear so composed.
“I love it when the opposition gets loud,” he confided. “It means they’re afraid; they think I’m a threat. The louder they get, the happier I get – because I know I’m doing well.”
When I told her Adam’s perspective, that “he delighted in the opposition,” she repeated it thoughtfully.
“Delighted in opposition,” she said, “I’ll have to share that with my husband.”
Last week I was facing my own sort of opposition (two long stories, not quite ended, worthy of some blog posts once they are), and I was spending time studying the word trust. (I had been reading One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber and attempting to get a better understanding of trust, specifically trust in God, by finding Scripture to enlighten me.)
In my study, I stumbled upon Psalm 37:3, 5, 7:
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture…
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this…
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Since I had spent the weekend saying Psalm 23 aloud, almost rap style, as I speed walked for exercise, I was immediately caught by the “enjoy safe pasture” mention, but the final verse in that Psalm 37 passage encouraged me that maybe, just maybe (and probably quite likely), my apparent opponents weren’t going to succeed as they planned.
And maybe my friend’s political opponents aren’t either.
My thoughts drifted back to Adam, his delight in opposition and his calmness on the mound. One baseball game in particular came to mind – probably because he surprised us all. It was Babe Ruth ball, and Adam was pitching in a game that had become a heated competition. One opposing player was particularly obnoxious. A strong hitter, he came to the plate and verbally dared Adam to try to strike him out. He was bent on hitting a home run.
In answer, my ever-calm son, silently and simply threw perfect, hard-to-hit strikes across the plate. When the umpire yelled, “Strike three!” the young non-hitter appeared stunned. My young man, always the cool cucumber on the mound, suddenly deftly removed his cap and bowed it and himself to the obnoxious batter, as if he were saying, “You asked for it. You got it. You’re welcome.”
Even Adam’s coach was delighted.