Monday, August 30, 2010

Those Shoes Stink!

They're worn and dirty from the ballfield. He's tired and smelly. As I wash his shirt and pants, and send him off to the shower, I realize ... it's good to get it all out. The white pants are bright ... bright because I take the time to pre-wash and leave set with stain remover. The shirt is a bright blue with bright red letters. You wouldn't have guessed there was anything bright a few hours ago. That shirt was smeared with mud from second base. The letters were dusty from home plate. Then, I put his cleats in the closet. Right where he'll look for them when it's game time. And ... they smell. They smell of sweat and dust, grass and spilled gatorade. And, I think ... I'm glad I don't have to wear those ... those things stink. I wouldn't want to play in those shoes.

I've talked to the other "Baseball Moms" and it's always the same. Yes, my kids uniform is a mess. But, we share tips on how to get those tough stains out and ways to help with the smelly shoes.

Life is like that baseball uniform. We all have a uniform. We're given that outfit on the day of our birth and we wear it out. Especially the shoes. Our shirts get splattered with words and tears. The pants are covered with stains and worn from falling down. The shoes, they're near falling apart by the time we find a resting place. The soles give away the bases we've run ... whether by choice or force. Sometimes, they carry reminders of hurt and at other times ... a reminder of something good. At the end of the day, would anyone else want to wear our shoes? Would anyone want to walk in our shoes? Is there someone with enough love to put them on and walk around?

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to bear one another's burdens, to come along side and lift up the hurting broken spirit. And, sometimes, we have to put on their shoes to do what's been asked of us. And ... all the time, that hurts. And ... all the time, we have to say yes. We can't say ... I'm done. I won't anymore.

How can I say your uniform is too messy to be worn? I wouldn't think of putting on your stinky shoes just to know where you've played and what pain the games have caused you?

I can't say no ... because God's given me a picture of my uniform. The one I have after a long day at work. When I am exhausted and disappoint myself and my family. The shirt that's covered with the splatter of mean words. The ones that fall from my own mouth. My pants that have stains from tripping up ... yet again. The shoes, the ones that smell from all the wrong bases I've taken. Yeah, my uniform is just as messy as the next player. And, I would want someone to look at my uniform and say ... yeah, I'll wear it. Regardless of where you've been or what you've done ... no matter how smelly your shoes are ... I'll walk in those, I'll play in those.

The best thing about that dirty uniform ... we can put it in the wash. We can ask God to make it bright again. That doesn't mean there aren't reminders of past games. The good games and the bad games ... we remember them. But, God ... well He uses all those games to make us better players.

Meet you on the ball diamond ... bring your messiest uniform ... it'll match mine. We can trade tips on how to get the stains out and what works best to patch the worn places.

Ephesians 4:1-6 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."