Rediscover the Quiet Joy of Patience and Baseball
For my husband’s fiftieth birthday we travel three hours to watch his favorite Major League Baseball team play an afternoon game. We have needed a getaway for some time—each slipping into a flurry of busy, slipping away from each other. I sit in the passenger seat, slide my arm around his neck, and we drive.
This sitting side-by-side, watching the world pass by—this unravels all the strings that bind. Usually, he puts in some music, and we don’t need to talk…just listen. I look out the window at the beauty of my Father’s world and try on words in my head. The long drive holds no glamour, no big places or adrenaline-rush moments. Just this…quiet joy. And the journey feels all the sweeter because we are together.
But this time it feels more like we are running away. Not running from fifty, mind you, but from some things that haven’t gone quite the way we’d hoped they would by this time in life. Some hard things, some things with no easy answers, some things that just need riding out.
The game sells out, so we sit up high, close to the sun. Our knees get sunburned, and we are soaked through with sweat before the end of the first inning. The pitchers posture before each throw, and the batters strut and squat at the knees repeatedly. We bake in the sun, and the thought crosses my mind that America doesn’t have the patience for baseball anymore. These lingering innings speak nostalgia—remnants of a time long past.
When my husband’s team wins in extra innings, he grins from ear to ear. We watch the players hug and jump on each other on the jumbo-screen. Their joy erupts into the stands, and we forget the heat of the sun and our burning knees. A regular Major League Baseball season has 162 games, but each win holds its own particular victory.
The next day we make the long drive home. Soon, we move with the familiar rhythm of the daily grind again. Life hums with family and the day job and housework and the yard. But this time of year, it is the garden that keeps me outside late into the cool evening. I pick armloads of tomatoes and peppers and at least one big pot of green beans. But I find more. Almost overnight the Mexican bean beetles have moved in. They’ve already eaten much of the viney leaves of the pole beans into lacy skeletons, and I can see their spiny, yellow larvae on the underside of several others.
I pick through each vine carefully, removing dead and infested leaves by hand. I work for more than an hour trying to save what’s left of the bean crop in my small garden. Later, I spend another hour on the computer reading about natural predators and organic vegetable sprays. As the day quickly disappears into the horizon, it crosses my mind that America doesn’t have the patience for gardening anymore, either. The carefree stroll down the produce aisle offers much more efficiency. Lingering over growing things is a remnant of a time long past.
But that evening, as I serve up home-grown green beans for dinner, I grin from ear to ear.
The seed that pushes through the hard soil and into fruition holds its own particular victory—the joy of the hard-won harvest.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Just across the street from my home, the field of corn that grew to block our view most of the summer now lays flat after harvest. The stalks have been stripped bare and fallen; the ears full of grain have been plucked and seeded. It's that time again, at least here in the Midwest. It's the season when the work pays off. On Thursday mornings in October, we are exploring the harvest. Join us as we save seeds from flower pods, fight pests in the garden, and keep working even when the harvest is a long way off. And if you have a minute to spare, drop us a note in the comments to tell us what you have been harvesting this fall.
Other posts about the harvest:
- The Hard Work of Harvest by Cheryl Smith
- Rediscover the Quiet Joy of Patience and Baseball by Laura Boggess
- When You Think Your Work Isn't Making a Difference by Deidra Riggs
- Dying Well: The Ultimate Harvest by Dena Dyer
- The High Calling of Harvesting by Charity Singleton Craig
Laura Boggess is the book editor at The High Calling. She is the author of two novellas for teens: Brody's Story and Derek's Story. Laura lives in a little valley in West Virginia with her husband and two sons. She blogs about life and faith at lauraboggess.com.