I recently came across an article bemoaning the existence of the wild card in baseball. The sportswriter’s gripe is that the pennant races aren’t really that exciting and the one that would be, Sox-Yanks, is nullified because the wild card all but assures both will be playing into October. The Wild Card is killing September drama.
That’s all well and good. It would even be a good case…if this season was the only one in the existence of the wild card. But it’s not. In fact, there have been thrilling divisional pennant and wild card races over the last decade and a half. This year? Not so much, but that doesn’t mean you throw out the wild card on such a small sample size.
(And I promise that I’m not writing this because the Braves are presently 8.5 games up in the wild card race while 8.5 back in their division. Of course, if we lose again to the Phillies tonight those numbers change in an unhappy way.)
It struck me that we do this a lot. We, to modify a cliche, judge the forest by a tree. We do this temporally in which an experience becomes the standard by which we measure something. A bad game means a player is washed up. An amazing first date reveals someone as the love of one’s life. No pennant race means the wild card in destroying baseball.
We do this spatially in which we forget that the world is larger than our life, inner circle, hometown, state, or country. I came across a Facebook status today wondering if the apocalypse was coming because the East Coast had an earthquake and a hurricane recently. The wondering was done in jest, but let’s be honest, people genuinely wonder things like that. We freak out when relatively minor things happen here, but remain ignorant of even greater devastation elsewhere.
We are finite human beings. Past, future, and over there are ghostly apparitions to us at best. Here and now is the most real experience that we have. Yet we often forget that the here and now is only a speck: a moment in a lifetime’s million moments of a life among billions of lives. It is the tree in a forest more vast than we can imagine. The world is bigger than here and now.
God is bigger than here and now too. I have to remind myself of that in dry spells or when things seem hectic. I have to remember that when I start comparing myself unfavorably to others when, in the grand scheme of this world, I am ridiculously blessed; blessed way out of proportion to what I deserve. I have to recall that the Christian faith goes back thousands of years and is spread through thousands of cultures. It did not spring to life in America during the 20th Century.
The here and now is important. It is the only part of our life that’s personally in play for each of us. But I don’t want to be so arrogant that I come to believe it is the end all, be all of existence. God, help me to remember that the world, that You, are bigger than that.