From the Archives: November 21, 1999

Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes. Some come early in life and some come late. I love the words of that old Swedish hymn, “Thanks to God” which express true thanksgiving. One line goes something like this, “Thanks for roses on the wayside, thanks for thorns their stems contain.”  As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, remember to give thanks for the beautiful roses we enjoy in life, but also for the thorns that grow in the midst of such beauty.  Both are from the hand of God. Sometimes the thorns actually draw us closer to Him than the roses. And the sooner in life we learn those lessons from Him, the better off we’ll be! Let me make my case.

You thought the baseball season was over, right? Hardly. If you are a youngster, you can play all year round. Our very own Aaron “Mr. Baseball” Bensoua is on a club team that is playing weekly these days. Earlier this month his team, the Riviera Rocks, was in a tournament in San Clemente. They were undefeated, not a bad record for a team that had been struggling. But wait a minute, if you got ahold of an official record book you’d discover they finished seventh in that tournament, in a field of fourteen teams. Undefeated? Seventh? What happened?

The Rocks were playing the Chino Sun Devils. Leading 6-4. A player on the Rocks hit a bloop single. He tore up the infield on the way to first base but didn’t quite beat the throw. It was so close, and the runner really wanted to hear “Safe.” When he didn’t hear it, he yanked his batting helmet off in frustration and threw it to the ground. As the helmet hit the ground the umpire yelled, “Saaaafe!” You see, the first baseman dropped the ball, there was no out.

But wait a minute. There was a helmet on the ground and one angry child. The umpire ejected the player. The Rocks still had a pinch-runner on first, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Well, there was. The Rocks only had nine players. No subs that day! They could not continue to play with just eight ball players, so the game was forfeited. It went in the books as loss. Ahead 6-4 one minute, and an official 7-0 loss the next. Why? Because of an uncontrolled outburst of anger. The actions of one impact the whole.

What a lesson. Sometimes they hurt. But if you can learn from the pain, you can give thanks for the thorn. Have any thorns for which you can give thanks this week? Roses and thorns are both gifts from God. Learn and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!