by KEITH WOMMACK — Turn the clock back to ’69.
All the teams were seated around the infield of the Little League Baseball field. My twin brother, Kevin, and I were decked out in our uniforms, sitting and laughing in our team’s cluster between the pitcher’s mound and third base.
It was All-Star selection day. My heart raced in anticipation.
The league was made up of ten, eleven, and twelve year olds. Kevin and I were twelve.
The names of the selected players began to be called out over the loud speakers. Johnny was first. When he heard his name, the new All-Star jumped up and stood on the first base line close to home plate. Parents watching from the bleachers clapped and cheered.
I knew Johnny would be an All-Star. He was an excellent hitter. I anxiously wondered, “When will my name be called?”
The selection process proceeded and player after player lined up next to Johnny. After a few minutes, my question switched to a nervous, “Will my name be called?”
As the selection activity was nearing its end, I noticed that almost all the older boys had been selected except for my brother and me. We were still seated with the weaker and younger players. There was no more laughter. My heart began to be heavy.
Then, Kevin’s name was called. He took his place in line. I was proud of him. He was the League’s best center fielder.
There was one more name to be called.
The two best pitchers in the league were already standing. I was the third best. I silently questioned, “Wouldn’t the All-Star team need three pitchers if it went far in All-Star team play?”
Then I noticed that the coach’s son from each team was already standing on the line except one, and Charlie was seated right next to me. He was my teammate. He was nice, but he wasn’t a very good baseball player, and he was eleven years old.
Would the League select a coach’s son over an older, better player? As this question swirled in my thought, everything slowed down.
The announcement came. It was a curveball. “Ch..ar..lie.” My heart sank. Charlie stood up and the All-Star line was complete.
As soon as our family got home, I lay on my bed and cried.
Like me, you have most likely cried after experiencing similar events. You too have probably felt totally shut out. But when this happens, something enables you to stand up and be counted as an All-Star, — something enables you to find your peace and balance when curveballs are thrown your way.
And that’s not all — there’s more. Not only does this “something” enable you to find your peace and balance, it’s good medicine for your mental and physical health.
Today, scientific evidence reveals that this special “something” is self-esteem, a sense of purpose.
As I lay on my bed in ‘69, I found spiritual grounding to be significant to my maintaining a healthy self-respect.
My mother came into my room. I don’t recall her exact words to me. The essence of her message was: I had a selfhood that was worthy of profound respect.
She echoed what I’d been learning in the Christian Science Sunday School:
I was an All-Star, not because others noticed, but because I expressed divine brilliance. In my own individual way, I was the sparkle and splash of Spirit. What was divinely given couldn’t be hidden or taken away. How Spirit respects me was reflected in my own self-respect.
A Scriptural passage relating one of God’s promises to Abram had special meaning for me: “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”
This verse and my mother’s message hit home. I was quickly out of bed and back to my joyful self.
I learned that anguish is never mine, but rather, it is a cruel temptation trying to hijack my thought and undermine my right to self-respect and health.
In the years following, when I’ve felt disappointed and left out; when I’ve begun to doubt or not like myself, and my health has suffered, it’s been helpful to mentally affirm the following spiritual truth. I am a dynamic, divine being, and my health and peace are more real than a suggestion of weakness and defeat.
You may have suffered through experiences much more traumatizing than being left off a Little League team, but the same spiritual principle and laws I used can be applied to every situation that has the potential to harm.
This method of prayerful reasoning, utilized by both my brother and me, enabled us to achieve perfect attendance throughout grade school and high school. A sense of purpose was good medicine for our mental and physical health, and it has kept us free from serious illness ever since.
You too can stand up and be counted as an All-Star. When you feel left out or forgotten, you are not. Claim your self-respect and the great blessing that you are.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com