I went over to my parents' house last night. I was dropping off some bicycles my dad picked up for my sisters but couldn't haul in his car. I ate dinner with the family, and after the girls went upstairs, it was just my folks and I watching...something on TV. I forget what exactly.
During the commercials, I kept flipping over to the Cubs game. They're in town this week for a three-game set with the Astros. At one point, my mother turned to me and said, "David, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I'm really concerned that sports are becoming too important to you."
I didn't say anything. Fact is, this is a question I've wondered about for a few weeks. I've started asking myself if baseball was taking up too much of my attention and devotion. I serve a jealous God, after all, who has no truck with sharing His solely-deserved glory.
My dad started to say something in my defense, but my mom cut him off. "You don't see it as much; you don't see what I see. I just want him to spend less time watching sports and more time going out and trying to find a nice young lady."
Immediately in my mind, I felt a backlash. I'm not obsessive. I care about other things. I don't have an apartment full of memorabilia, emblazoned with the colors and logo of my favorite team. I don't have a tattoo with the red and blue "C." I'm not that bad. And it's not like my love of the Cubs is the one thing holding me back from finding a wife.
But at the same time, I knew that at some level, she was right. I check the scores more than once a day, I read Cubs blogs, I post YouTube videos that few people comment on (ahem). Whenever there's a televised game, I'm usually watching it. I spend more time watching baseball than reading my Bible and serving others. It's a big part of my life.
I left not too long after. I felt uncomfortable. On the way home, I wrestled with whether or not to listen to the game on the radio. Turned it on. Turned it off. Couldn't decide.
I was really most irritated by the fact that she brings it up after she encouraged me to get tickets for my dad and I for tonight's ballgame. It will be a little harder for me to enjoy it now.
Finally, I arrived home, tired and unhappy. And as I slowly made the turn inside my apartment complex and rounded the corner into the parking lot that wraps around my building, I saw the flashing red and blue lights.
I pulled into my usual parking spot. Thirty yards away, there were two police cruisers, lights flashing. Just beyond, a line of yellow crime scene tape.
I slowly walked up to the nearest officer and asked if something happened. He tersely asked if I was a resident. I pointed up to the top of the building we were standing next to.
"Someone's been shot. Some guys came through that walking gate there and tried to steal a guy's car. He turned and tried to run away with his hands over his head, and they shot him in the back. He's in surgery right now. When we showed up, this guy here" (he pointed to the back of his cruiser) "was walking around on the sidewalk, eye-ing us like he wanted to start trouble, so we're going to talk to him."
The officer then told me to be careful and park in well-lit places, to watch where I'm going and be aware of my surroundings. Things my mother always tells me. I wonder if the victim's mother told him the same things.
I went up to my apartment. Flipped on the game. The Cubs lost. I didn't care. I turned the TV off and turned my stereo to the local classical music station.
Life is short. It's fragile. And the evil that is left to roam free can be unspeakable. And while I know that Paul tells me the Spirit given me is not one of fear but of power and a sound mind, I still feel afraid. I know that God told me through Joshua that He is with me whereever I go, but I still feel alone. I know that Jesus told me that he'd never leave me or forsake me, but I still feel a little abandoned.
I need to read my Bible more. I think it would help put my heart at ease.
But one thing that keeps coming to mind: if that were me, if I were the one shot in the parking lot, and I didn't make it, how do I want to be remembered? What is to be the final word on my life?
If the answer that comes up most is "a Cubs fan," then I've failed as a person. My life has to mean more than that. And if that means pushing aside something I love for something more lasting, then I guess that's what I've got to do.
I don't know how to be a half-hearted fan. When I commit to something, I throw myself into it. I'm having a hard time admitting it, but if I'm going to throw my heart into anything, it has to be more lasting than a baseball team.
But saying that--well, it hurts. Especially in a playoff hunt.