I went to the final Texas Ranger game at Globe Life Park yesterday. Weird right? “Mitchell went to a baseball game voluntarily?”
Okay. You would not believe how many times I have heard that in the last 24 hours, but yes. I did go to a game and it was awesome. Mitchell has come to really enjoy watching games in the last year. And no, I am not being bribed to go, I think I have always enjoyed these games I just never felt like I could enjoy these games. Partially, because everyone else did. Maybe it’s my independent spirit, or my longing to be the guy who knows about the thing that no one else around me knows about, I am not exactly sure.But part of that came with me not giving myself permission to actually enjoy the games I watch. That might actually be something to unpack on a different day though… today I want to unpack something different today.
I went to the final Texas Ranger game at Globe Life Park yesterday. Biggest crowd I have seen at a Ranger game in quite some time and it was awesome. It was a game where I got a bit nostalgic with my personal history at that stadium with my own family. I even got to share it with a friend who has never been to a professional baseball game before in his life. It was a game I won’t forget anytime soon.
As soon as I stepped out into the stands of the stadium so many memories flooded into my mind of moments I had there as such a young kid. Memories of getting peanuts and sunflower seeds, or even getting that big bag of candy my mom packed for me and the boys (the boys, being my brothers). Sweet talking my Pops into buying a soft pretzel for me, which I think is when I starting loving those things, as well as pretzels. Definitely an emotional attachment thing. Great, I’m getting a little emotional writing this, give me a second… I also remember seeing those fireworks as a kid and just looking at them in awe. But there is one baseball memory I have that isn’t so sweet, and possibly why I did not like sports for so long.
I got lost in that ballpark once. Like, LOST lost. Scary lost. First, I will tell you my families experience of them figuring it out. Now, there were like 20 of us at this baseball game, the Rangers lost and it was late and we were all just walking to the car from the top section of the stadium. As time passed and the whole family made it to the car my family discovered that I was not with them and most all of them went sprinting back to the car. Much later they found me in tears at the police section of the park wearing an over sized Texas Rangers t-shirt. Now, for what I experienced.
It was the last inning at the game, it was WAY past my bedtime. All I wanted was to see fireworks at the end of the game and then, strike, strike, you are out. Disappointment and sadness rushed into the cheeks of my face. Head down, I followed the family out of the stands walking down the ramps of the stadium. We got to the bottom and kept walking, and so I kept walking, and walking, and walking, until I turned around and saw no one that I recognized. With the already building tension in my throat, that catch all of a sudden turned sideways. I am lost. I kept turning my head, this way and that, of all the things this night could have been, it all of a sudden got worse. Stranger danger right? Stay away from people. But, can’t people help me? With one more turn of my head a mother came up to me and with the sweetest, kindest voice she said “Honey, are you lost?” Bursts of water came flooding down my face, I couldn’t even get a word out but just nod my head “yes.” She took me by the hand and led me to the nearest officer who then took my hand all the way to their offices. Still in tears the officer picked me up and set me on the counter. I think he saw that my shirt was covered in snot and tears and he found an XL Texas Rangers baseball shirt and slipped it over my head. That helped. I don’t think I ever said it but I for sure thought “thank you so much sir.” And, for what felt like an hour my family found me at the center and I jumped into their arms and never let go until I was in the car. Jonathan and Zachary quickly discovered that all you had to do to get a free t-shirt was to get lost.
I think a lot more could have happened that night. Thankfully nothing more did. I still think about that woman who spotted me and asked that question. What if she just kept on about her business? I don’t even remember her face but her voice and kind words. I try not to live in the business of “what if” but sometimes I can’t help it. So much could have happened that night. I was lost.
I talked a lot about “gearing up” last week, gearing up against a war we are set to win. But geez I did not spend much time on our blind spots. Sometimes we don’t pay attention and we are set on a path that we think is good, but then we turn around to see where we have been and nothing is familiar.
Last night a dear friend of mine shared this verse with me and a group of guys, I want to share it because it is SO applicable, so thank you Travis for letting me preach and mooch off of you;
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”Hebrews 10:19-25, ESV
I want to keep going down that whole chapter but I’ll stop there for this week. We see that the assurance of our hope stays firm when we stir each other up. I think many of us see ‘stir each other up’ and think “that sounds like I need to pick a fight.” Maybe I’m the only one that thinks that, anyway, I see this though as a way to hype, empower, and protect the ones around me. To look for a way to build on the foundation of hope that Jesus has already given us.
What have I walked into and do I recognize what is around me? Am I stirring up those around me? Are they stirring me up? Has disappointment and sadness blinded me to walk into things that bring shadow and not light?
I think for so long I looked at the time I got lost at Globe Life Park as a horrible and terrible thing that could have been so much worse. Which is true. But the anxiety and association of athletic events keeping me from wanting to be a bigger part of it has led me to believe lies for years. Now, that might not necessarily be true, it could just be that my interests changed and it be just as simple as that. That could very well be true. But I also think that satan likes to put himself in shadows of experiences we don’t like to think about. In our blind spots. Which I could say that sports has for sure been a blind spot for many many years, and you could laugh at that, which I am right now.
You may think I am crazy for thinking that darkness or satan wants to have any part of sports, or games, or events, or stuff like that. But, you would not think I am crazy for saying that God wants to be a part of those things, which He does. I think it is ignorant for saying that God wants to be a part of these things and satan does not. satan wants to be a part of every single thing that God wants to be a part of. That is why we got to look for those blind spots in fellowship with those around us.
Like I sad, we have a war to win. But we also have to be in a formation with our brothers and sisters. Constantly and consistently stirring up one another for Him.
#FarewellGLP I cannot wait to visit your next park and take my kids there. To share in a victory that I have had in not accepting the lies of evil. It will be a great story to share. Another story in which the light keeps on shining.