Commencement - it's just the beginning
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Twilight at Doubleday Field, Cooperstown, New York. Legend has it that on this site - now a beautiful pristine baseball diamond with bleachers and lights - the game of baseball began. Amazingly, I've got this whole magical emerald-green field of dreams to myself. Not a soul around. It strikes me as a natural place to think about beginnings.
And the perfect time, too. After all, it's commencement season. Graduates from high schools, colleges, and universities are on the threshold of new worlds. Spring training is over, and it's time for the season of "real" life to begin. Time to "Play ball!"
I've already played a few innings in the major leagues of career, finances, family, and health. I've had some good innings and some bad. Home runs and strikeouts. Slumps and streaks. (Who hasn't?) But I'm learning to see life through a different lens. To look to the divine Mind of the universe for guidance, wisdom, ability, and well-being. And that's what keeps the promise of commencement - the promise of ever-new opportunity and success - alive in me every day.
Prayer helps me keep going with confidence. Trust. Even if I'm down a few runs. You might call it heart.
Heart? Jean-Paul Sartre may have written, "We must learn to live without hope" (ugh, how depressing!), but I disagree. Leave it to Broadway to get it right: "You've gotta have heart. All you really need is heart," sings the down-and-out baseball team on the way to a turnaround in "Damn Yankees."
To me, heart = spirit: hope + courage, wrapped up in love. Love for the creator, and love for the creation. Hope and faith that good things are within reach. Courage to face every day as a day for renewal. Fresh starts. Comebacks. Big innings.
Some years ago, I was depressed in a job that was demoralizing. I prayed for adjustment and new opportunity. For another chance. To be in a place where my light could shine for the benefit of everyone. I tried to transition into a quasi-new/parallel career. I made lots of calls. Nothing. But I trusted that the divine Spirit's winning plan for me couldn't be stopped, even if things felt hopeless. Then, just when I was at my bleakest, I got a job offer. I left my old job, and a new world opened up to me. Since then my career has taken several more unexpected turns, each one bringing increased opportunity to develop my talents and help an ever-widening circle of people.
"It ain't over till it's over," as Yogi Berra put it. And the good news is, it ain't ever over. We live in the now, and life extends to infinity. Like baseball, where time has no say and a game could go on forever, Life is an invisible eternal Principle - God - which governs all of us in practical, good ways. Divine Principle is power. The power. And it paints our lives with beautiful fireworks of opportunity and victory.
So, whether you've left college for the "real" world, or you're transitioning from one job or career to another, from being alone to having a family, or from a full house to an empty nest - you can take the field with a heart sustained by the Infinite. God's plan is for you and me to be happy, whole, and productive, and to help others be the same.
So swing for the fences - or bunt! Either way, have heart. And let God carry you safely home. Today is just one beginning in an endless number of beginnings in the grand game of your wonderful life.
The discoverer of
Christian Science finds
the path less difficult when
she has the high goal always before her thoughts, than
when she counts her
footsteps in endeavoring
to reach it.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor