We watched a good hour of batting practice from our perches in right field. As long fly balls flew over the wall, we watched boys, young and old, scurry to catch or retrieve the small, round trophies. I smiled, entertained by the quick agile burst of even a retired gentleman as he moved to grab the white ball covered in leather and 180 stitches- proof that when our hearts are young, so are we - even in fleeting moments.
Later, my husband brought me a ballpark dog loaded with cheese, diced onions, and a tart line of yellow mustard. Hunger had yet to knock, but that hardly matters when one is at the ballpark. The Yankees scored early and played a neat defense for six innings before the cold temperatures left over from the nor'easter that dumped a March snow in the northeast drove us to our car. Wade grabbed his souvenir Yankee cup and we walked stiffly to our car.
The drive back to our hotel remained relatively silent save the music the boy insists on playing at decimals preventing conversation. Occasionally, one or both would join the artist, singing and drumming. They both have an uncanny musical intelligence with no real ability to carry a tune. Still, it's a memory sealed in a proverbial frame - father and son in the front seat of a black SUV, their broad frames outlined by street lamps we pass, their voices together in one flailing pitch.
And I marvel...
I marvel at the joy a father and son create, how the stream-of-consciousness conversation overtakes the room, how they can agree and disagree without taking a breathe. I marvel at where we are and where we have been and the tenacity that drives Joey to continue to make memories like today for us. I marvel at the faithfulness of a God who provides for us, hides us, and tests us and always, always carries us.
I marvel that the death of a child has not destroyed us, yet I am learning how distant healing really is. Chasing it, the healing that will take away our pain, will be a long, earthly race - full of dark nights, songs sung out of tune, days filled with sunshine and days filled with bitter cold, and the perfect shadows of spring day lying serene on a field of green. We are not better; we are not handling this - we, the three of us, have chosen to stay in the fight.
Psalm 31:24 - "Be of good courage and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."