I’ve heard it said that Fenway Park is the “Largest House of Prayer in Boston.” This week, more than usual, all eyes have turned to this cathedral of sorts as our hometown boys take on the Cardinals for yet another series. People from all walks of life have come to Fenway to celebrate and cheer as they collectively hold their breath with each swing of the bat. It’s the ultimate fellowship forum. For folks who may not have much else in common, during the post season we have common ground that brings us together.
Common ground is hard to come-by these days. We’ve just emerged after a sixteen-day government shutdown into a couple weeks with even more horrific school violence and natural disasters around the world claiming lives. We need something to root for. Regardless of which team we cheer on, (obviously you all root for the Sox…) having something fun to cheer for helps us when we must dive back into the trenches and face what is happening in the world. Baseball doesn’t make the rest of the world go away, but it brings us together to watch something fun and to hope for a little while.
What is it we see when we watch this “All-American Game?” We see a group of people whose collective purpose is to help one another come home. The entire purpose of the game of baseball is to get back to the place where it all started. When you are home you are protected. When you are home you are finally safe. There is no place else on the field where you experience that kind of safety. But, in order to come back home, you must first go out. You must use the gift of your physical form to go out into the field and to visit different places. While you are there, you will encounter different types of people and have conversations. You will have to watch what is happening around you and discern when it’s the right time to move to another place. Some things will help you get where you’re going; others will try to take you off of the right path. And when you do eventually make it back home –and you will- the celebration is grand.
Is it a perfect metaphor? No, of course not. But what it does is capture some of the reasons so many people are losing sleep. What if we used this momentary interruption of the monotony of life to infuse that hope into our lives, to be curious about our neighbors, to root for something good, and to look at our own paths home? Are you on the path that will get you home safely? What help do you need along the way? Is there a way you could be helpful on someone else’s path? And the thing I most like to ponder: what will the “coach” say to you when you do make it safely back home?