Listen here or scroll down to continue reading.
Boy on a rainy day: “I want to go outside and play baseball!”
Grandmother: “Well, when there is enough blue sky out there to make a pair of pants you can go play.”
Boy with a quizical look out the window: “Is there enough out there to make pants?”
Grandmother, glancing out the window: “Short pants…”
This was an actual conversation between my brother and our live-in grandmother. To this day, on a rainy day with blue sky poking through, I think about my grandmother and her “short pants…”
I got to thinking about Grandma and her “short pants” because life seems to be all about degrees. After all, is a pair of short pants out of blue sky enough to be free and clear of the rain? Or do you need at least a pair of capris? Or does it have to be a full trouser length?
There really aren’t any “guarantees” — no clear cut line about when you will be free and clear of rain when you are playing baseball.
I am thinking that many of you that read these thoughts are in the process of trying to decide about going back to church, or out to eat, or to take a family vacation, or… well… you know: get back to playing!
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.Jeremiah 29:11
And I would guess that some of you are looking for some guarantees from merchants, pastors, airlines, and the like. And, I bet you aren’t getting them. Your proverbial grandmother is giving you some sort of version of “short pants…” and it is pretty unsatisfactory as an answer.
I guess, ultimately what I am thinking about is that fact that even if there is only enough sky out there for short pants, it is still blue sky. It is still the promise of light and life. Even if there is a small patch, it is something to hold onto, right? It sparks a memory, doesn’t it? When the sky was blue and we went to restaurants and church and dinner parties without a care in the world.
And, it will be again — in the not to distant future. A great Old Testament scholar wrote this: “It is our loss of historical perspective, our reduction of everything to the present moment that results in hopelessness… the practice of memory serves to open options in the reading of present reality” (Walter Brueggemann, Hopeful Imagination).
So… do you remember? Do you remember baseball games and swimming pools? Family get-togethers and dining out? Do you remember singing your favorite hymn at the top of your voice? Do you remember hugs and handshakes? Full-throated laughter without a mask? Do you remember that God has plans for our welfare and not our harm? Do you remember?