Ever since I went to my grandson’s T-ball game last week I have been thinking about the long, very slow process we human’s go through to learn, and how great it would be if we all had patient coaches. The primary focus of my grandson’s coaches seems to be to allow these 4 and 5 year-olds, boys and girls, enjoy the game as they find their motor skills while learning teamwork and sportsmanship. The lack of physical coordination of these very young players is astounding. But they are all out there working to learn their moves a little more smoothly game by game. And those gentle men, and one woman, who look like they are herding kittens, also appear to be enjoying themselves. Competition is not part of the equation and that is a good thing.
What if we lived each day like a good T-ball game and were lucky enough to have gentle coaches to guide us? What if the name of the game wasn’t competition but coordination, cooperation and learning to enjoy one another? I do believe that is the long-term goal for the survival of our species but right now it appears the competitive spirit is leading us toward disaster. Disasters have their function. They wake us up to what must change, but wouldn’t it be better to employ reason, coordination and cooperation to avoid them? Can we find good coaches for our life and can we sometimes be the good coach?
Any game has its goal and setbacks or it wouldn’t be a game and there was a setback at T-ball last week when a little player stepped up to the ball, swung with might, hitting the ball squarely and lined it right into another players face near first base. A gasp came from the bleachers and many coaches huddled around the little one in pain. There was a sigh of relief when this tiny player was able to stay in the game and play resumed. Accepting help, and the capacity to rebound from setbacks, is another important T-ball lesson. I believe many more eyes will be focused on the direction of the ball in the next game. And can we keep our eye on the big blue ball we live on, and its inhabitants, and each do our part to avert disaster?
The human species is extremely young in terms of the rest of the earth and we still have an incredible amount of learning to do to live successfully. In my memoire, God Never Hurries, I wrote about my vivid realization of that fact when visiting the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and looking up at an incredibly tall timeline (at least two stories high) depicting the age of the earth, the beginning of life forms and their progression up to the present. We first appear at the very tip of this incredibly tall visual aid and still have much to learn about living. I believe we can all stay in the game if we find good coaches, sometimes be one, learn teamwork, good sportsmanship, have genuine compassion, and trust in the slow work of God.