Knowing the Ending
I was thinking...
As an Atlanta Braves fan, I remember the days when the Braves were proverbial cellar dwellers. At the age of 9 years my parents took me to the very first baseball game played at the former Atlanta Stadium. It was a magical moment and my love for baseball and the Braves were cemented for life.
In the early 90’s when the Braves surprised the world and began their remarkable 15-year division winning streak, I was beyond elated. I had waited, along with so many others, for what seemed an eternity, to have a contending professional baseball team in Atlanta. There was a spirit of enthusiasm that captured the city, the burbs and the entire south. There were tomahawks everywhere…on billboards, front yards, building roofs and across many a shirt and jacket.
I bought and kept a video of that amazing World Series. I watched it over and over with the outcome remaining the same…a loss in game seven of the World Series. I remember those games being ‘nail-bitters’…each one filled with stress, anxiety, disappointment, and exuberance. What a thrill to share in the first Major League baseball World Series in Atlanta. It was a memory of a lifetime.
As I watched the series over and over, I slowly noticed that the stress was gone. I knew the outcome before I began each video review. In the moments when I did not know the outcome, I was on the edge of my seat. When I knew the outcome, even if it wasn’t what I had hoped for, there was no longer any need for anxious moments. It was a simple living with the reality of the ending to come. No matter how many times I watched the video, the Atlanta Braves would lose game seven and thus lose the World Series to the Minnesota Twins. With the anxiety gone, I noticed other elements of the games played. Less worry; less stress; less ‘nail-biting’ allowed me to notice the game of baseball at a different and more appreciative level.
Our faith journey is much like Braves baseball (or any sport for that matter). When we know the end result, the stress and anxiety are greatly reduced, and life is experienced in a different way. When we live in the reality of the cross AND the empty tomb, we live with a different spirit of anticipation. When we live with the assurance of life eternal and thus know the ending of our living, we live life with a different perspective. Life will never be stress-free but “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7) when we know, as Paul Harvey would say, ‘the rest of the story’.
Whether you are a Braves baseball fan or not, perhaps it is helpful to pause long enough to consider what we believe about the end of our story. Maybe, just maybe, it will make a difference in the spirit of our living in the here and now. Maybe…just maybe!
I will say once again what I have said and shouted since I was 9 years of age…GO BRAVES!
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop