THIS WEEK: SELLING OUR SOULS
When I was young, my world revolved around sports. The first hint of spring almost threw me into our family “athletic closet” where everything from basketballs, croquet sets and footballs hid. But I would emerge with a musty baseball mitt.
A few phone calls and a few friends later and we’d be out setting records in our preteen fantasy minds as we took on the names and jerseys of the greats of our times.
There was always the wiffle-ball classics. These consisted of kids who would meet over my neighbor’s house. In our imaginations, the field was Yankee or Shea Stadium despite the fact that our right field line was a huge forsythia bush not more than thirty feet away. It turned me into a switch hitter and I became adept at batting lefty for that long-ball edge.
Our host Pat even figured out how to put lights up on the trees so that we could play night games just like they did in the big leagues.
The first leaf wouldn’t drop in autumn before we headed to my barn where I had converted a second-floor room into a locker room. Our shoulder pads and helmets awaited us so we wouldn't kill ourselves when we were tackled on the gravel of my driveway.
Our heads needed those helmets for another purpose. We were so absorbed in the reality that we were the big leagues that it never dawned on us that we were kids who would never make it past high school sports, no less college or the pros.
An obsession or love can subtly take us to the edge of danger. In the musical, “Damn Yankees,” the devil gets the protagonist to sell his soul in order to become a baseball star who could defeat The New York Yankees. Being a Mets fan, I can’t say that I would have turned down that offer when I was eleven and The Mets were in the cellar.
When I was about 14, I had a dream that I was talking to The Mets star pitcher, Tom Seaver. In the dream, I discovered he didn’t even know I existed. I literally woke up that morning from my fantasy.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: It’s relatively easy to chase something in our minds that will solve our ills or titillate our egos. It’s good to honestly and regularly ask, “What’s my asking price?”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Matthew 4:8-10 (NIV)