One more week til Pure Joy 2014 begins! In the meantime, enjoy this reblog of one of our most read blogs from last summer!!! 🙂 (originally posted in July 2013)
Never EVER let anyone convince you a softball is actually “soft”. How do I know? Well. I am the proud owner of a right-eye shiner I received from taking a pitch to the face last Friday evening.
And before you ask, the answer is NO. I wasn’t playing. I was spectating at Elle Belle’s game. And an errant pitch somehow evaded the fencing, making a laser-like beeline for my face that any smart bomb would’ve been proud to call a direct hit!
I’ll spare most of you the photos for now (but I honestly appreciate those very special few who have had to endure my daily photo updates – thanks for humoring me!). The faint of heart wouldn’t want to see it, trust me. Let’s just say you can call me “Wendie and the Technicolor Face”. But here is the good news – NO, the GREAT news: I have no permanent damage, no broken bones, and I am getting a LOT of giggles each time I look in the mirror!
This verse always makes me want to hide (kind of like having a big, fat, bruised face!). I don’t want to consider it PURE JOY when I run into a problem, do you?! I want to complain about it. Pout about it. Feel sorry about it. Lament about it. Maybe even HIDE from it.
But I remembered something Friday evening I’d read once that made me reconsider this thought from our friend, James:
From the moment that softball hit me, the reactions of others helped determine my level of psychological comfort. My husband quickly got me out of the heat and into the car. The other parents in the vicinity calmly gave me ice packs, spoke gently, told me in very confident voices that everything was going to be just fine. My own Elle bravely hugged me, told me she was fine to stay and play, and that she’d see me at the hospital later – no tears, even! My sister-in-law picked me up from the ballpark with just a shrug saying, “No big thing. Just keep the ice on it.” (I hadn’t gotten the courage to look in the mirror at that point.)
The staff at the hospital was equally as calm. No flinching from the triage folks, nurses, or even the doctor. Steady, calm, reassuring. To me, they were each the hands and feet and voice of God, using their reactions to calm mine.
Well, then, the CT scan tech came to get me and when he saw my face, he gave a grimace that sent me into a little bit of panic. (I still hadn’t looked.) As he wheeled me to imaging, he said, “HOLY COW! What the heck happened to you? Looks like you got hit in the eye by a baseball!”
Ahem. Well, yes. I did get hit by a ball game item. Only it was a softball and I’ve come to find out they are actually harder than baseballs, smart *guy*.
In the imaging room, after his comment, I was shaking so hard that I needed extra blankets and began to have a mini panic attack. All from the reaction of one person.
By the time I got back from the CT scan, Tim and Elle were there waiting for me. Elle took a quick picture and let me see it (Now I understand why there aren’t mirrors in emergency rooms!). Okay, it was bad – but nowhere near as awful as the Tech had led me to imagine.
I was released after we knew there was no bone or retinal damage. God is so good. His protection and healing mercies are beyond what our minds can imagine. I’ve honestly experienced no pain, no visual problems, no structural issues. Just some pretty colors and puffy tissue – and who doesn’t love a little puffy every now and again?! Smoothes out the wrinkles and all…!!!
I rested up for a day and was back out at the fields Sunday morning, cheering on Elle and her amazing team. I learned the power of reaction this weekend. I could’ve stayed home, feeling sorry for my not-to-GREAT-looking self, worried that I’d freak someone out with my face. But I realized I could pop on a hat and sunglasses, find and hug the sweet 13-year old girl whose pitch had a fluke altercation with my face and let her know I admire her as much as I did before I got hit, and let MY reaction reach the team in a positive way – so I did.
Okay, we didn’t win on Sunday, but we hung in there and it came down to the wire! The girls played hard, played strong, and came off the field with smiles on their faces for a hard fought game with bleachers full of proud parents and fans.
We will all get at least one curve ball thrown right at us at some point in life. What will YOU do with it? Will you cower in fear and panic when people around you point, stare, and tell you there’s no hope? Or will you take James’ advice and live out what we’ve been learning all along this summer about joy: walk hand in hand with Christ – lean in and on Him, knowing our joy comes from His strength? He will not leave you, no matter how hard you get hit, how blurred your vision, or how confused your head gets. I’m living proof of that, my friends!
And get this: sometimes, it’s not even about the actual hit you take. SOMETIMES, it’s about how you react to it. You never know who is watching and how YOUR reaction will draw someone toward Christ (or away from Him). So, consider it pure joy, sweet friends, when you are tried or tested, because THAT is when and where your influence and faith have a chance to flourish.
(BTW – it’s now nearly a year later and my eye has healed just fine! I still head out to the fields each weekend and cheer this amazing team of young women on! GO PHILLIES!)
Peace, love, and JOY!
Up Monday: The beginning of the beginning!!! Pure Joy 2014!