The Question Matters


The Unexpected Gift

Posted in Family,Leadership,People Watching by treyfinley1008 on December 25, 2009

You’d learn a lot about me simply by knowing one fact—I love baseball.  Knowing I love baseball would tell you that I’m a sports fan, that I’m a bit nostalgic and old-school, and that I prefer quiet and stillness over noise and rowdiness.

Recently I received an email describing an autograph-signing event.  Several members of the Texas Rangers, including Rusty Greer (my favorite former Ranger), would be present.  What a great opportunity to get a few autographs and get my baseball fix in the winter!

“Why don’t you take Caden, too?” my wife Marla said to me the day of the event.  Reviewing the invitation, I noted that it used words like “kid friendly” and “kids welcome.”  If I had any doubts about taking my four-year-old, they were completely dispelled by the twinkle in his eye when I asked him if he wanted to go.  We piled in the car and bought a couple of baseballs on the way.

The signing, as it turns out, was being held in a sports bar.  It was the kind of place that on a game day would be quite raucous.  (I can safely say that I was older than four when I entered my first sports bar.)  In the course of this “kid friendly” event, my son got to have several new experiences.

I’m hoping he didn’t hear too many of the choice words dropped by the two men playing a game of 8-ball while we were in line.  I’m curious if he noticed the numerous empty glasses and bottles with a few suds in the bottom.  And most of all, I’m grateful he didn’t get it when the waitress in tight clothes playfully asked him if he and daddy were going to a stripper bar afterwards.

In this awkward mix of earthy adults and wide-eyed children, my son got an autograph and shared a beaming smile.

Though I’m certain he’ll go unscathed, this little boy was clearly out of place.  At four, he knows only of love, not of lust.  He knows only of laughter, not of drunken giddiness.  He knows only of the joy of playing the game, not to curse his failures and those who finish ahead of him.  He was an image of purity and of innocence in a room full of brokenness and pitiable people—an unexpected gift, if you will, to people unaccustomed to such child-like behavior.

There is another unexpected gift, another child who found himself in a strange, utterly foreign, and often hostile place.  Jesus’ birth was celebrated by men who did not believe in his God, shepherds who stank of the sheep over which they watched, and barn animals made restless by the cries of a newborn.

And not unlike the jaded residents of the bar, this child’s presence was an unexpected gift.  The God-Child’s appearance on an otherwise ordinary night brought purity and innocence into a broken and pitiable world.

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3 Responses to 'The Unexpected Gift'

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  1. treyfinley1008 said,

    @TIM–you’re right, of course. As he gets to know baseball better, there will be only one highlight of Rusty’s career that I’ll need to show him–the catch in CF to save Kenny Rogers’ perfect game.

    @MARLA–thanks for being my #1 cheerleader. Love ya!

  2. Tim Perkins said,

    Great stuff! You’ll have to, someday, explain to Caden who Rusty Greer is.

  3. Marla Finley said,

    I love this article about Caden’s innocence amidst the earthiness of the baseball signing. I love that you took him there, the love that you showed him to share your fanaticism for baseball. I love that you are also showing him glimpses of the world in the security of your presence. You are a terrific dad and a great author too!


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