In many ways, this move has been like any other move we’ve ever done. Lots of boxes to pack and unpack? Check. Figuring out what will go where in the new house? Check. Learning how to get to various places? Check. Getting signed up with banks, schools, utilities, etc.? Check. Of course, you can add a layer to the sense of disorientation when you’ve moved internationally and have to learn how to get along in a different culture. And you can add another layer beyond that when you’re starting a new job at the same time.
As a result, finding something familiar is a big win. And, in a country where sport is dominated by rugby, soccer, GAA football, hurling, and the like; baseball is eminently familiar! Saturday, David and I traveled to the International Baseball Centre in Ashbourne, County Meath. If you’re not familiar with the family, David has been all baseball for the past several years. Spring Little League, Junior Giants in the summer, and Fall Ball meant that it was the rare week between February and November when he wasn’t out on the field with his team. Here in Ireland, he won’t have all those opportunities, but he has been able to join a team and play.
Once we came here, I – perhaps foolishly – decided to join the adult team as well. Now, I’ve played softball, but it’s been years. I’ve never played organized baseball at all. Truth be told, I’m not much of an athlete. And yet here I am. Saturday was our first actual play of the season – an exhibition tournament against teams from Dublin, Cavan, and Greystones. My first at-bat, I strode to the plate with the words of our coach still echoing in my ears. Be aggressive. Lean in. Make something happen. And…
I fouled off an inside pitch that proceeded to crash into my brow and the bridge of my nose. This morning, I have some lovely bruising over my eye, a nice cut on my nose, and not a little scarring to my pride. Those who’ve known me a long time will recall I once blacked my eye with a baseball way back in elementary school. In looking for something familiar, I have indeed found that which was familiar – though not necessarily as I would have intended.
But it’s a good reminder for me (hopefully for you as well, so my injuries aren’t wasted only on myself) that wherever we go in life, we bring along our infirmities with us. I wasn’t a great athlete in America; I’m not a great athlete in Ireland. I didn’t always perform tasks smoothly in America; same is true here (ask me about our trip home from church yesterday!). I guess I can sum it all up by saying, all the imperfections I had before, I still seem to have. I’m still tempted with the same things. Still blind to the same things. Still prone to bad jokes.
But while I’m still weak where I have been weak, I serve a God who is Himself my strength in weakness. I have posted here about the fact that God’s strength is best seen when I am not the one on display. But I don’t think I can say it better than Paul, who said about his own weakness…
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 [NASB]:
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Weaknesses take the focus off of me and point to God. Weaknesses show me my need to rely on God in every circumstance of life. And, as I’m learning, weaknesses make me human. Flawed, failing, not perfect, not pulled together – just like everyone else around me. By acknowledging my weaknesses, may I then be able to connect more readily with my new friends and neighbors.