April 11, 2013

Bullies and Baseball

This is how my son felt in the presence of a boy, who I'll call Jason, when my son attended public school.  He dreaded spending time in the same room as Jason.  My son isn't unpopular, but Jason found it necessary to pick and poke, making my son feel like Jason hated him for no reason.  He was thankful for the reprieve summer vacations awarded him from Jason's torment.

Every year since he was 5 years old, my son has played Little League baseball.  And every year, he has ended up on the same team as Jason.  Which means that every year, my son HATES Little League.  He's not a particularly sporty boy to begin with, but he dreads performing in front of both his friends and the boys like Jason, because he knows that Jason will pick on him for his lack of skills.

This year, though, when we went to Little League try-outs, Jason and his family were nowhere to be seen.  We surmised that perhaps they had moved away.  Or maybe they just weren't playing this year.  At my son's first team practice, he found that two of his good friends are on his team this year.  While he still doesn't want to play, because he doesn't care for the sport and doesn't want his friends to think he's bad at it, he at least was happy to spend time with them.

Sitting in our truck at our son's second practice, with the windows rolled down, because the sun shone and the temperature hit 70, we watched his teammates gradually arrive at the field.  Our son had spent the day with his grandfather and had not yet arrived.  We watched his teammates tease each other as boys do.  Then we heard one of them say, "Isn't Jason coming to practice again today?"  Not five minutes later, Jason arrived.

My heart sank.  I looked at my husband and said, "Are you kidding me?!?!"

Our son has been playing Little League for 5 years.  What are the chances he gets put on the same team as this boy who torments him so?  Every.  Single. Year.

To begin with, I told my son how sorry I was that he had to be in that situation again.  I told him I couldn't believe his bad luck.  I tried to make him feel better about it by telling him that maybe Jason has changed.

But the more I've pondered it, the more I think... what are the chances my son gets put on the same team as this boy who torments him so, every single year?

We Christians believe nothing happens without reason.  God has a purpose for everything under the sun.  I can't help but think He has a purpose for placing my son with this boy every year, despite the crazy odds against it.  Jason isn't a Christian.  My son is.  And we're trying to teach him how to act and speak in ways that are a witness to the good news of Christ.

Maybe those two boys are always on the same team because God is working in both their lives.  In my son, to be a Godly example, and in Jason, to experience Christ's love.

It has to be, because, what are the chances?

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