Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Young Ravens

He gives to animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry.  His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love -- Psalm 147: 9-11 

My team, the Ravens , lost Saturday night to the Patriots in the AFC divisional playoff round, 35-31, in Foxborough. 

Anna watched the game on television with April and me.  Eli watched it from Florida.  He and I texted back and forth.  April observed Anna pacing and standing still watching the game just like I did, and I told her about Eli texting me.  She said our kids love me because they root for the Ravens just like I do.  That thrills me.  There are things they love I love. 

My sweet children mourned with me when they lost. They rejoice with me when the Ravens win. I know I've expressed disdain for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens primary rival, in front of my children over the years.  I've refrained from public acrimony directed at my favorite teams' chief rivals - Steelers for the Ravens and Yankees for the Orioles - because I didn't want to legitimize a degree of hatred in front of my children.  Regardless of my best efforts, they've both expressed hatred recently for the Steelers.  I admit it. It made me laugh. 

We share a passion I didn't expect.  Its part of our relationship.  I called my father Sunday morning before church, asking him, humorously, if he saw the game.  We laughed and talked and shared our own beliefs and reasons for the defeat.  Its part of our relationship.   

Some of the most distinct memories I have of sharing space and time with my father are accounted for as recollections of sporting events, significant Colt/Oriole/Raven/Terp/Bullet games we attended or viewed on a TV.  Its something we've shared.  Its part of our relationship and history.  I love my father more because we've shared in these experiences.  We made memories. 

I was a chaplain intern at a hospital while in seminary.  There was an elderly couple whom I got to know there.  The wife had an extended stay on the floor I served.  She suffered from dementia.  The husband struggled with her condition.  One morning while he sat outside her room while the nurses tended to her needs, I met him.  He was teary.  I spoke little and just sat with him.   

I then had the inspiration to ask him if he'd seen the baseball game the night before.  Oral Hershiser of the L.A. Dodgers was on a scoreless inning streak that approached a record, and the Dodgers were on nationwide television that night.  When I asked him, his eyes became bright and his demeanor changed from a hopeless husband to an enthused sports fan.  We talked about this pitching feat without ever losing the context of being in a hospital outside his wife's room.  We shared something that was beyond him being a husband of a suffering wife and me being a chaplain. Sports was the medium to broaden our relationship and love for one another. 

Psalm 147 mentions young ravens in the NRSV translation.  Ironically, I read the passage Sunday morning.  The young ravens cry.  We didn't mourn to that literal a degree.  It was enough for my kids to grimace at the loss along with their dad.  It made it bearable.  We made memories. 

I am thankful for my relationships with my children.  I love them dearly.  We have things we share. 

Our God finds pleasure in his children who value and embrace his unshakeable love for them.  We have a relationship.  We make memories.  Regardless of the abilities or success of a running back, I take pleasure in the relationships I have with my lovely children.  I will always love them.  I'm thankful to God for the memories we make.                                

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