I desperately wanted him to get a hit. Any hit. Just make contact. I even prayed.
But, no hit. Strikeout. Times two.
After the game as we were walking to the car, I asked him if he’d had fun playing. “Yep!” He cheerfully replied, not even mentioning the strikeouts.
And it got me thinking: why did I want that hit so badly? Don’t get me wrong, I think he wanted it, too. But it’s clear to me that I was more disappointed than he.
One of the reasons our own emotional healing is so important is that, “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” (Richard Rohr)
I see proof of that here. The pain of unbelonging, of feeling rejected and unloved, led me to prove and prove and prove. I did this primarily through academic achievement, but sometimes through athletics and extracurriculars. I wanted to be the best, and I wanted everyone to know it.
Because maybe then I would prove to be worthwhile.
Clearly, I felt that need for him just a little bit on the baseball field. I wanted him to do well because maybe then his coaches will see how great of a kid he is.
Maybe they’ll know his worth.
Something that constantly amazes me about this son of mine is that he doesn’t seem to need to prove anything to anyone. As you can imagine, it can get a little frustrating. But it is also refreshing.
So, I have a choice to make. I can make him practice more, make sure he does better, push him to work harder, transmitting my pain.
Or, I can relax and let the boy have fun. I can stop placing my pain on top of him, a weight impossible for him to carry.
Instead, I can turn to the One who has already taken my pain upon his back. I can unload my own hurts and let him transform it, let him heal me.
Then maybe those strike outs won’t hurt me so badly, and maybe my son will know how much I love him, not because of his performance, but just for him.