verb (used with object), consoled, consoling.
to alleviate or lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment
Which is exactly what happened. Our boys and all of us were indeed. Consoled. And all that grief, that deep disappointment was lessened to almost forgetting.
They were the Consolation Champions. Nils and the Legacy Lions. Winning 2 games out of 3 at the state baseball tourney. In the end, it was awesome. But the road to victory started with a crushing loss.
In the beginning just going to state was triumph enough. Everything else will be gravy. One of the parents said it this way, and it felt true, celebrating those back-to-back wins that got us there. But then, of course, the week played out, Target Field in our sights, those other teams looking beatable, and heading to Thursday we’re thinking more than gravy.
We were certainly thinking MORE in the final inning of the first day’s game, leading as we were by two runs. Two outs. Two strikes. Game over. But not quite. Batter after batter from the opposing team (five in all) took two strikes and then made their way on. A run scored. And then a play we’d relive all night long. Bases loaded, everyone tense beyond reason. An easy grounder to shortstop, bobbled, thrown wide to first. The tying run across the plate. The shortstop. My son. This kid who hardly missed a play all season. A coach from an opposing team called him a vacuum. His glove like a magnet. But Thursday after extra innings and a loss by one run, my boy sat dejected on an overturned bucket. Stunned. All of us stunned.
And I actually wondered if it might be my fault.
Thursday morning. I’m up early for a meeting at church. Dressed in my Legacy t-shirt and my blue and orange sneakers (custom-designed by one of my high-school girls as a fundraiser for a mission trip.) All of us excited for the day ahead. And I’m praying, like usual. For the day and for my boys. God – I’m not sure how you feel about baseball… But I’m asking. I’ve asked before and of course I’m asking today. It can’t hurt.
And then the weirdest thing happens. And not just once. Maybe three or four times I start praying and each time there’s this sense of HIS leading. Each time me ending my praying with this exact thing. God I want what you want and I trust you. And I knew in my spirit it was His Spirit preparing, and I knew I was praying for Nils.
I knew it again hours later as I watched him struggling there on that bucket. Alone. No one talking. No pats on the back. No one saying it’s going to be okay. His Dad’s heart heavy, and mine, too, and we get in our car and we leave the field, and leave the boy in his pain. All night long wondering how this could have happened.
Friday morning I wake up dreaming. About baseball. Still heavy. Out on my porch with Bible in hand. And I’m thinking. There are a lot of things bigger than baseball.
And yet. It’s a mystery. How God can be sovereign over all the world’s mess and still meet me like this.
From the start, every verse of scripture His Spirit is speaking to mine. And then. Like a message from heaven. I open my email to a video teaching sent just that morning. Michelle Anthony, Life Can Be Tough – The Upper and Lower Story. And every single word of this message is HIS. For me – and for Kyle listening nearby.
When we know that God is writing a grand redemptive narrative, then we can be confident there is a higher storyline than our day to day events that make up the lower story… When we have eyes to see the upper story narrative we will be blessed in the midst of the trials of our lower story…
The upper story. God I trust you. I want what you want. And the lower. God, please be there for my boy.
And then. Second day, game two, last play. A grounder to shortstop. Scooped up, thrown to first, game over.