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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013
Snapshots from a Little League game. A pitcher aims at home plate. Hopes he won’t hit the batter. Prays it’s close to a strike. Just close, that’s all he wants.

My son has made it to first because the pitches were only close. Blue helmet. Plastic cleats. The ball hurtles toward the plate and Brandon is gone, pushing off first and running with the pent-up energy only 12-year olds know. Striding toward second. The catcher stands and rainbows the ball over the pitcher’s head. This young man with a mask and shin guards who has suffered the slings and arrows of a coach who has only seen what he’s done wrong. But now he is up and firing toward two outstretched gloves. Shortstop and second jockey for position in a competition for who will catch and tag.

My son slides between them and the ball skitters a few feet away, harmless as a kitten. He is safe. A little dirty, but safe. And he stands on second and surveys the view, brushing off his uniform.

The pitcher gets the ball and eyes home plate, more determined. Focused. He is so focused he does not see my son straying off second, walking slowly back to first. Walking like he had no right to be where he had been.

“What’s he doing?” a mother says behind me. She has lamented the frigid temperature, now in the 50s. She is from Chicago, but her blood has been conditioned by desert heat.

“I don’t know,” another mom says. “Maybe he thinks he’s out.”

My son gets half-way to first, then a look of terror strikes him as he hears a voice from his bench and he turns back as the pitcher delivers. My son scampers back to second and half of the crowd breathes a sigh of relief.

The game over, we walk to the car and talk intricacies of the past two-hours. The player hit by the pitch who had to go out of the game. The triple another teammate hit. The pitcher on the other team whose mechanics and hair looked like Tim Lincecum.

“Oh yeah, on that play where you stole second and then tried to steal first, what happened?”

A laugh. Cheeks flushed red to match his hat. "Don't bring that up again."

“But what happened?” I say. “This is all about learning from our mistakes.”

A long, winding story of what goes through a 12-year old’s mind spills from his lips. Standing on second he was unsure whether or not he was “safe.” Or if the ball had been tipped by the batter. Or if he had left first too soon.

“When you make it to second, you stand on the base and call time if you’re unsure about anything,” I said.

“But I heard someone say ‘Go back!’” he says. “I thought it was the umpire."

Many voices yell many things at many people on a baseball field. There are voices we think we hear that mix and mingle with what we hear inside.

“Go back!”

In this diamond of a metaphor, I saw myself straying off second, moving but backward, returning to the base I touched long ago. A voice, a siren, a fear, maybe guilt urges me to go where I’ve already been. It sounds real.

“You don’t deserve to be there. Go back.”

Your opponent wants you to retreat. He does not want you to stand on the base where you are and move forward. But your coach compels you home. He is urging you forward and telling you this is about learning from your mistakes and he is waving his arm so you won’t break stride. Listening to that voice is something you have to choose. Listening to that voice will help you be “safe” at home.

Just remember to slide if there’s a play at the plate.


MaryBeth said...

Thank you for sharing this. I so often lack the confidence that I clearly hear the voice of my umpire. Just as your 12 year old son felt a need to return to first base, the voices of self-doubt and fear often cause me to retreat and not make progress toward goals or aspirations. Your post is quite timely. I am currently in a season in which I recognize a pattern in myself of doing and undoing. When I attempt to swing at a hope or longing and take a step forward, I am bombarded with noise in my soul. I question whether I even deserve to be in the ball bark much less dare to dream. Oh how I desire the joy of running the bases and hearing that grand declaration SAFE! said...

I'm with Marybeth. I don't have natural confidence that, of course you deserve to have good things in your life. So I go back but when I wake up in the morning, I say, "Wait a minute! You should apply for that position."