Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Things That Grow Us

Last night it was almost too hot to breathe. It’s been hot, humid, sticky and buggy for the last few weeks. I really hate it. I won’t go outside when it’s like this so I stay where it’s cool and try to be useful. I wander around in the few air conditioned rooms we have, check my e-mail every few minutes, play spider solitaire, and listen to some tunes on You Tube.

I found this  I think I was guided to it. I’ve never heard of this man, but I’ve heard of the hymn. I know the story behind it and thought I didn’t need to learn anything else. Wrong. By the time Wintley Phipps finished talking and singing I was in tears and there was Grinch-like moment where my heart grew a little. Please watch.

I read a lot and trust other veracious readers so when my friend, Beegee, recommended The Invisible Girls I bought the e-book. About halfway through I said to myself, “Don’t you EVER complain about another single ache or pain.” In this true story Sarah Thebarge intermingles her battle with breast cancer and the six Somalis (a mom and five little girls) God sent to help her see Him again. I was so moved I wrote a review on Amazon. It’s one of the newest and I post as Susanwords. I would highly recommend it to you especially if your faith is failing.

And then yesterday morning, along with family, friends and fans, I trundled off to the Little League baseball field to watch the Northern Columbia team battle the Saugerties team. Each had a win and this was the determining game. Now let me say this about baseball – I never got too excited about it. Throwing, hitting, running. Big Whoop. But stay with me here.

As a youngster I did baseball with the neighborhood kids. We played the old fashioned way. One ball, one bat, a few gloves, a few rules, and boys who were much more invested in the game than the girls. Okay, we girls played because the boys were there. When I got a little older our church youth group went to a L.A. Dodger’s game where Sandy Koufax pitched a no-hitter. I was only vaguely aware of how momentous an occasion that was and probably was more concerned about how my hair looked than anything else. Disgraceful – I know.

Then there was a lapse of many years until we had boys of our own. Our oldest played the game with the most fervor and then there was another lapse until . . .

Sam. Son of fervent son and our only grandson. NOW I have some skin in the game as they say. He just turned eleven and he has the fire. A Sandy Koufax in the making. Yesterday he pitched so well. The crowd was with him.

“Hey, Sunnywall.” The young boy sitting next to me shouted his encouragement. A bank of white/gray clouds hovered over the field providing relief from the hot July sun. About halfway through the game the score evens up. Saugerties to that point was way ahead of us. The crowd went wild as the scoreboard lit up 5/5. Moms paced near the dugout. Grandparents gripped cameras with monster lenses. Brothers and sisters super sucked ice pops. Oh, the glory.

They play six innings in this division of Little League. The unofficial score keeper, Sam’s grandpa, sits next to me with his Father’s Day gift real deal score pad. He’s laser focused on recording every move those kids make. I lean over at intervals to ask the score and shake my head as he yells over and over, “Rock and fire, Babe, rock and fire!” at the grandson who’s pitching a pretty darned good inning.

And yet, with all that, the cover of the clouds and support of the crowd, the wonder of getting this far in the tournament at all, the supreme effort and overwhelming desire to win – we lost. By one run – 5/6. Heart. Breaking. And as the players came out of the dugout we watched their faces, wanting to protect and coddle. Brave boys trying to hold it together. Some in tears and some punching air. Our sympathetic mumblings and false cheer did little to soothe them. Sometimes you just have to wallow in loss for a while.

John Newton, Sara Thebarge, and Sam Sundwall all have this in common with the rest of us - sometimes we’re losers. We just don’t make the grade despite our will, our prayers and our talents. You and I may never pen a hymn like Amazing Grace, or battle an epic disease at the tender age of twenty seven, or pitch a perfect inning. But without realizing it those who are blessed with loss and come up on the other side whole affect the rest of us in profound ways.

They grow us.

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. Sue, YOU certainly grow me. I wept like a baby listening to that rendition of AMAZING GRACE and I never knew the story behind it. Thank YOU for constantly opening my eyes, helping me to grow, giving me a view of the world I would otherwise have missed. Thank YOU, you amazing woman!

    1. Cindy, you are a boon to me, too. Always so positive and cheerful. Wasn't that Amazing Grace just wonderful? The throb in his voice clutched at my heart like no other rendition has. I'm so glad you watched. Hugs 'n More.

  2. Growth is what I need - all the time! Thanks so much for this reminder. So timely, and a great way to start a Monday. Have a good week! :)

    1. Hi, Karen. Every time I think I'm finally a big girl I find out I'm not. LOL Glad to help kick off your Monday! You have a good week too, you wonderful writer, you.

  3. Sue,
    Just read your wonderful post. I couldn't believe it when I saw the You Tube entry as I've watched that very one many times. Isn't it wonderful! Another amazing You Tube with Wintley Phipps is when he sings It is Well With My Soul. He shares how an airline stewardess gave his tape of the song to the Billy Graham people and they hired him immediately.
    Your description of the ball game is so moving and true to life.

    1. Oh, thank you Christine!! I just came upon Wintley Phipps by chance. LOL Or not. Someone is always guiding me it seems. Love your comments.