The gravel crunches under my shoes as I step out of the batters box with bat in hand. I notice the outfielders moving in as I take my stance at home plate and face the pitcher. “Easy out,” someone shouts from the infield. My confidence evaporates as I steady the bat, poised to swing. I glance at the stands filled with parents cheering, but my father isn’t there. He’s never made it to even one of my games, but I still hope someday he will.
The pitcher delivers a fast ball across the plate. I swing the bat. Nothing but air. “Strike one!” The umpires snaps in a gruff voice. I want to glance at the stands again, but I force myself to concentrate on the next pitch. “Strike two!” The umpire yells. I just want to get on base for once. “Wait for the pitch,” the coach yells. I restrain myself on the next pitch. “Ball one,” the umpire calls to my relief.
But I can’t hold back on the next pitch. I swing and feel the ball clip the bat, then rise toward the sky. The bat slips from my hands as I instinctively sprint toward first base, unaware that the ball is sailing straight up, past the foul line. I run with all my might, but my heart sinks as I hear the ball smack a glove. “Out!” The umpire shouts. I drop my head and return to the bench. I know this will be my last time at bat.
A few innings later the game ends. We lost again. Our opponents smile and give each other high fives. All I could think about was being a loser on a losing team. I trudge toward the now empty bleachers to wait for my brother to pick me up. He’s usually late. I pass parents reassuring my team mates, “It’s okay.”
I start to climb the rows of seats on the bleachers when I notice an older man sitting on the top row. “Dad?!” I utter. He gently smiles and motions to me to join him. I climb the bleachers and sit next to him. He gives me a hug and says, “It’s okay, son.” I look at him in disbelief. “How long have you been here?” He gives me a loving grin. “For the whole game.” I shake my head, “But I didn’t see you.” I look into his eyes and feel a warmth I’ve never felt before. “I’ve been here for every game,” he says.
I’m skeptical about his comment, but his face speaks truth. “This is part of your journey, son; part of making you into the man I want you to be.” Such wisdom, but It doesn’t make sense to me. “But I’m no good,” I insist. He smiles and puts a hand on my shoulder. “I made you to be so much more than a baseball player.”
Suddenly a car horn blares. I turn to see my brother pull up with the car. “That’s my ride,” I say as I turn back to look at my father, but there’s no one there. Tears well up inside of me as i step down from the bleachers. I climb into the car with my brother. He turns to look at me. “Who were you talking to on the bleachers when I pulled up?” I close the car door and look at him, “My Father.” My brother frowns. “Dad? Dad’s at home!” I smile at him, “I was talking to God my father. He hasn’t missed a single one of my games.”
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father —and I lay down my life for the sheep.” – John 10:14 (NIV)
#Retrospective — This post originally published July 23, 2019.
© 2019 CGThelen
31 thoughts on “A Heart to Heart With Dad”
Stirring story! The ending was well-designed to allow God to come forth with His grace and peace.
Praise God for being such a faithful father! Blessings.
I love this!!
Praise God for His love and grace. Blessings.
This is my all time favorite post of yours, Chris. It’s worth reading every year. Thank you for reposting it. Many, including me, can identify with your story. Blessings!
Thanks for reading (and rereading 😊). Blessings to you this day.
Beautiful story indeed! Blessings and love to you and yours 🙂
An excellent story with a great lesson. Earthly fathers can be great, and not so great, but God is the most AWESOME Father imaginable!
Praise God our Father for His love and grace! Blessings.
Great read, thank you and god bless
Blessings to you as well.
Awesome, thank you! As one who never made it past JV baseball, this hit home for me.
I never did well in sports and my parents never went to my games, so writing this helped change those bad memories into a reminder that God was there through it all encouraging me. Glad it resonated with you. Blessings.
Oh my, this one brought tears to my eyes–so good, you gave me an image to remember in my day to day life (and got my Follow 🙂 ). May God abundantly bless you.
Such a loving God who showers with his grace. Thanks for the comment and the follow 😊
A wonderful share!
Praise God for his patience.
A solace for so many
Indeed. Peace of Christ be with you.
Beautiful reminder. Thanks for sharing your experience. 😊
Lovely story and remarkable lessons. Thank you for this timely message 🤗
Praise God for his faithfulness, our ever loving father. Thanks for the comment!
Beautiful story. Did you write this? I was blessed…
Yes, I wrote this. It is based on my experience with my earthly father and how someone shared with me, “but your Heavenly Father was at every game.” Thanks for reading.
Comments are closed.