Like other places, summer in Alaska means baseball. Over the decades, the Alaska Baseball League has brought delight to thousands of fans and has allowed collegiate players from around the nation a place to play and hone their skills. Six teams, all located around the state, bring the old pastime to our communities for eight weeks. To say the least, it is a big deal, and many professional ball players once got their start here. In short, the ABL is part of what makes Alaskan summers unique and special.
It was the evening of July 4th and, on this night, victory belonged to the home team; our boys had pulled off an improbable comeback and given us a reason to cheer. The game was over. It was about 10:30. The crowd was headed home, but a few of us were lingering at the ballpark. Fireworks cracked in the distance. I thought back on the day: the unseasonably hot weather, the annual "Candy Parade" through town, the tailgate party with fellow baseball fans, and a well-deserved win for the team.
As I reflected, I stopped to say hello to one of the players. It is his second season of playing here, yet his love for Alaska hasn't seemed to diminish. We talked about the game, celebrated the win, discussed his recent hand injury, and wished one another a happy 4th.
Just then, as we stood there, a beautiful rainbow appeared near the mountains. We noticed it and stood there in admiration. Reaching for my phone, I tried to capture that moment of Grace. We spoke of God's love. We smiled. We thanked. Because He is good, and moments like these show how much He cares.
Later on, I thought of how busy my life is. Time so often feels like my enemy. I am always feeling a sense of lack - there isn't enough of it...and yet, the thought occurred to me: perhaps the problem isn't a lack of time but a need to savor it. Maybe I don't need more of it - just a better appreciation for it. I think of dear ones: how quickly they can be taken from me! Today's " I love you" could be among the last. Did I say it enough? I think of rainbows. How many little blessings I fail to notice because I am moving too fast! A demonstration of His love might be right in front of me, but I miss it. I miss it because I lack vision. I am thank-less. All these are evidences of my neglect, my refusal to redeem and live each day to the fullest. My refusal, at times, to see God.
When the busyness fades - the crowds are gone; the parade is long over; the fried chicken dinner has settled in the stomach - after all this, what is left? Mere memories of a ballgame? Proud displays of patriotic fervor? Or evidences of Grace? Rainbows that speak of His promises, that give hope to a longing soul. I am in full agreement with author Ann Voskamp when she spoke of not wanting more time but wanting enough time to live her one life well. I can't be so distracted that I miss Him. 4th of July may come and go. Ball games may be won or lost. But God is still faithful. And I am still loved. One look to the mountains, one sight of His rainbow, one taste of His grace, and all is well.
We stand and marvel and, together, we say, " How great Thou art!"