My second week of vacation is usually a little more relaxing than my first week. The first week is spent in a big city, watching baseball games and touring attractions. The second week is time for me to relax a bit. For years that meant coming back to Pittsburgh and spending time with my father at his apartment. We would go out to eat and perhaps see a movie or something like that. In the past few years since my father’s death, I have had to find other ways of slowing down for the other part of my vacation. Sometimes I visit family out of town, or sometimes I go someplace I can relax and still go out and do some things.
This year I had to change my plans when my first approach did not work as I expected. So I decided to take a roundabout route to go to one of my favorite places. Yes, it is still related to baseball. The roundabout trip will take me to the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area and then up to Binghamton, New York. I will stop long enough to see some minor league baseball in each city before going on to spend a couple of days in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. That presents an interesting contrast. The minor leaguers are all hoping to reach the Majors, though only a few of them will truly make it. Minor league baseball is fun, especially after spending a week of watching Major League games. The ballparks are much smaller, and the fans are closer to the action. There is a thrill to watching the games and wondering which players I will hear of in the future, particularly as I can see the difference in how the game is played. You can see the players are still learning the finer points of the game, particularly with their judgment of the strike zone. Minor league ball is a lot of fun.
The contrast is to go from there to the Hall of Fame, which honors those players who played at the highest level and achieved the most. Each one of them was once a minor leaguer who hoped to make it. (There are rare exceptions such as Al Kaline, who never played in the minors.) Writing about that contrast makes me think of our devotion to the saints. They are the ones we would like to emulate, and they are where we hope to end up. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that we are still in the minor leagues when it comes to following God. But if we do not make the “Hall of Fame” of canonized saints, we do know that God will lead us to His kingdom, where we can enjoy His eternal glory.
So again, please continue to pray that I may have safe travels and a refreshing vacation and may be ready to return to work on Saturday. And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to the hotel’s swimming pool.