Kicked in the balls

My son loves baseball. When he was little, we would go to the park and play catch until it was dark. Even though he is not allowed to hit whiffle balls over our house, there are usually several on the roof and in our gutters. He is older now and throws the ball harder than I can manage. For the last few years, I have been aware that a day would come when I would be unable to safely handle his athleticism. That day has arrived. Saturday afternoon, while sitting on a bucket attempting to catch my sons’ fast ball and or slider, I caught one in the groin without using my glove. As I stood, screaming words that Reverends are not typically know for, my sons’ first question was, “don’t you think that was a strike?” It seems that both of us are having a hard time seeing.

Monday afternoon I was on outreach when a homeless man walked up to me and told me he was going to kick me in the balls. I pretended I didn’t hear him, and he repeated, “I am going to kick you in the balls.” I gently told him not to and he sat down on the sidewalk. As were talking, he tells me about seeing small smiling faces in the pavement. I ask him how the faces make him feel and he says that he feels trapped. He shares about the good sleep and dreams he has in jail and how he defends himself from being raped. “I have to kick the people in the balls.” He shares details about a reoccurring dream that takes place in his dad’s auto shop. His train of thought is simultaneously scattered and articulate. His mind and body seem to have processed real abuse and trauma as separate dreamlike experiences, both detached from reality and informed by it.  While were talking a large grey blob of bird poop lands on his head. He doesn’t notice and I can’t fathom the level of humiliation he has had to suffer. We have more conversation surrounding his audio and visual hallucinations and I offer to pray with him. He asks me if prayer works, and I say we can give it a try if he wants to. He agrees and I pray for the peace and comfort of Jesus Christ. For the broad expansive freedom of God to replace feelings of entrapment. When we’re done praying, he tells me that his field of vision seems clearer. I encourage him to keep praying to Jesus. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:18-21 NIV).”  I am thankful that God sees the good the evil and the breaking ball.

Michael Cox

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