The very first summer we moved to Chicago so my daughter could participate in necessary physical therapy, I told my son we would try to make it as fun as possible. And while we tried, when all of your money is going towards therapy, hotel, and food bills, this leaves little in the “entertainment” portion of the budget.
Yet I told him we would go see a Chicago Cubs game. That was in 2016. In the spring of 2018, as we made plans to return to Chicago for a third straight summer of therapy, my son reminded me, “You said we’d go to a Cubs game. When are we going to a Cubs game?” And so that very day, I got online and booked us two seats in the very top section of Wrigley Field. Keeping my word is important, but keeping my word on taking my son to see a Cubs game was imperative.
The day of the afternoon Cubs game arrived. If someone had told me three years earlier I’d be tooling around downtown Chicago, riding the train, and making it happen, I would have laughed. But a lot has changed in three years, and situations which used to make me nervous don’t make me nearly as nervous. Cam and I stepped off at Addison Station and there was Wrigley Field. We’d gotten there plenty early, so we walked around enjoying it all. I took Cam’s picture with the World Series Trophy. We didn’t take for granted the immense history and experience which Wrigley has to offer.
We were thrilled with our seats! Sure, we were about twelve rows from the top of section 500, but we had a nice aerial view of the game. I decided, at age sixteen, my son should get to experience eating a hot dog at his first Major League Baseball Game, so he and I paid the highway-robbery-asking-price for our hot dogs and returned to section 500 preparing to settle in for the game.
It was at this moment a woman approached us and asked if we wanted upgraded seats. I was immediately suspicious; however, she looked quite official and assured us that at every game, StubHub (from whom I’d purchased the online tickets) chose two people who would receive upgraded seats and Cam and I had been chosen.
So the two schmucks from Indiana carried our hot dogs and our free baseball caps down to section 400, than 300, than 200, than 100 where we promptly ended up 21 rows behind home plate!
Still stunned, we sat down in our upgraded seats. We laughed. We laughed some more. We took a selfie. We finished our hot dogs which were, by now, completely cold. Every time I’d look over at my son, he was literally grinning from ear to ear. We didn’t need binoculars or to look over at the Jumbotron because we could actually see Anthony Rizzo’s facial expressions. We, who thought we were clear at the so-called “back of the line,” moved to the front for really no reason at all other than someone else deciding to choose us, someone else deciding to extend grace to us, and someone else deciding to say, “Come on up close to the front.”
Yeah, you know me well enough, Dear Reader, to see where I’m going with this. In life, I feel as if we are the schmucks, the people who the world looks at and kind of views as the losers. Our family doesn’t look all packaged and normal and put-together like most families. And while the world spends most of its time trying to put its best FakeBook foot forward, we are the ones who acknowledge how truly screwed up we are. Heck, we’re the ones who are literally trying not to take any foot moving forward for granted!
Yet one day, not because we are good or we deserve it, we are going to get called Home. To say it will be an upgrade is a huge understatement. In God’s kingdom, those of us who often appear to be “losing at life” are going to be the winners. Not because of who we are, but because of who God is. He’s going to say, “I choose you! I’m extending grace to you! Come on up close to the front! Come on up close to me!”
Perhaps, Dear Reader, you feel as if you are at the back of the ballpark. Maybe you feel forgotten, alone, discouraged, betrayed, abandoned, and as far away from “the good seats” as possible. Hold on! Stick with the Lord! There’s an upgrade a-coming! And that’s going to make our StubHub upgrade seem small. Very small indeed.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.