Wow, I'm getting really bad at being consistent with this blogging thing. I usually keep a journal or something and lately have just been writing things down at work. I'll try to get a little better at this! :)
My, the summer has flown by!!! I remember my high school math teacher telling us that the older we got the faster time would pass and we needed to be prepared. I didn't really believe him at the time...that or he had already scared me with upper-level math terms that I had stopped paying real attention. But you know, it's true. Maybe not on a daily basis necessarily, but in an overall sense.
This summer has been a unique summer. I've definitely been battling issues I never planned to face and God has been teaching me new things with each step. For the first time in 8 years I find myself away from the church camp I loved working at. I always knew this day would come, but I just thought it would have a lot more to do with choice than force. It's something I find myself thinking about daily...juggling between the emotions of hope and good faith versus anger and ill will. But gradually God's been helping me to release my grip, hold tight to what I He has left in my hands, and move on to find a new identity. Gradually, I've found the freedom more liberating. It's nice to be able to make real plans, to leave "work" before 8pm, to actually get 2 full days off each week (or take time off paid). For example, June 10-13 I got to go to Lubbock to watch the Chicago Bandits play the USSSA Pride play professional softball. We never had softball where I grew up but I got hooked back in 2004 watching the Olympic team's Road to Athens tour. This series featured Jessica Mendoza, Lauren Lappin, Caitlin Lowe, Natasha Watley, Kelly Kretchman, Andrea Duran, Cat Osterman, Alissa Haber for the Pride and Vicky Galindo and Jennie Finch for the Bandits....all Olympians. It was a dream come true to have them so close..both in a regional sense and the fact that the stadium isn't very big so pretty much all the seats (other than the outfield) are close to the players. That opportunity was amazing in and of itself. Even more amazing was how God provided an opportunity for me to see that not all the world is against you and guarded. Thursday night I had the chance to meet Jennie Finch's dad, Doug. He was such a nice guy! We got acquainted, he was more than willing to answer any questions I had and explain some of the things about softball I wouldn't know from just watching it on TV. I also took the time to thank him for raising such a wonderful daughter. She's not afraid to profess her faith in Jesus and the Light in her really shines out to others both in her personality and the special things she does for others. I missed Friday's game, but went back for Saturday. This game was on ESPN and it was packed! I saw Doug at the top of the bleechers with Jennie's son Ace. Ace and I played with a slinky for a little bit, Doug updated me on how the game had gone the night before, and then told me to go down about 3 rows to where his wife Beverly was sitting and tell her that Doug sent me to sit in the extra seat next to them. I don't know if he saved it for me on purpose or if it happened to turn out that way, but either way I wouldn't have found a seat with it. I introduced myself to Beverly and got acquainted with her. She was also good about explaining things to me if I had questions. They bought me a bottle of water without letting me pay for it and were very good to me the whole game. Afterward they asked if I would be coming to Sunday's game or if I would go to church. I opted for the game. I got there early, but didn't expect to beat the Finches. I sat where we had been sitting the night before and waited...and waited. Every once in a while I noticed Jennie looking up where I was to see if they were there yet. The game started and went through the first inning before they got there. They thought the game started at 1 instead of 12. We had another great day. This time they bought my lunch and wouldn't let me repay them. Again, they answered questions, pointed out things I wouldn't know on my own, and gave me more insight into Jennie and her heart. She really is one of my heroes now. At the end of the game I sat around to talk more about life as a professional softball player, watched the teams get ready to sign autographs, and made plans to see the Finches at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma next month. While Doug and I were talking Beverly took Ace to the field to see Jennie with a Bandits bleecher cushion and marker. She got Jennie to sign an autograph to me just like that...no questions asked, nothing in return...not even "well, you're an adult and can go get in line if you want it that bad." Jennie's parents were some of the nicest people I've met in a long time and you could tell that's just how they are. They never questioned why I wanted to meet them or be around them (didn't assume I was using them to get close to Jennie or something), they just took me in and gave great insight into the game and Jennie's life in the spotlight. I have a special place in my heart for them and it was something I really needed to experience. I thank God for it every day...for renewing my faith in people. I'm also getting more opportunities to play golf with my dad. We've played in a couple tournaments so far and have done pretty good. We still have a couple more to go.
This summer I'm learning that life doesn't always turn out how you expect it or want it. You really can't always get what you want. But the amazing thing about life with Christ is that God makes wrong things right. He brings healing and refreshing. And as the door at camp has closed, He continues to open other doors and windows to bless me in new ways. I'll be intersted to see what the rest of the summer is like!