I was born in 1958, the same year that the San Francisco Giants began playing baseball in the city by the Bay. My birthplace was Los Angeles but my dad, a long time New York Giants baseball fan, never gave a single thought about pulling for the Dodgers. I cannot prove it but I am pretty sure that on my first day home from the hospital my dad plunked a black baseball hat with the script SF in orange on my head.
Ever since then I have lived and (mostly) died with the black and orange. This week that all changed. Last Monday, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers, 3 games to 1, to win the World Series Championship. In the innings leading up to the win I thought my heart was going to explode, it was pounding so hard. When Edgar Renteria hit a three run home run in the seventh inning to give the Giants the lead I jumped and clapped and yelled and shouted and danced and pretty much scared all of my family and our dog Zeke to near death themselves.
When the game was over I was overwhelmed. I cheered briefly. Then, and I cannot believe this happened, I sat down on the couch and quietly wept. I could not believe it. I should have been spraying champagne all over my backyard or something. I should have been jumping up and down or blowing my car horn out in the garage. I felt like I should’ve been doing something else, anything but crying.
Julie smiled at me and said, “Finally. They did it.” My wife of 31 years has put up with my fanaticism over the Giants. We were married in 1979. That day the Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2. Yes, I remember! Four nights later we were sitting in box seats at Candlestick Park watching the Giants play the Braves. The Giants won that night, 6-5. Yes, I remember! My dad arranged for our names to be on the scoreboard . “Welcome to Mr. and Mrs. Glen Miles, Honeymooners!” Can you imagine what Julie has put up with all of these years? Greater love hath no woman than to adopt her husband’s favorite team as her own!
In that moment I thought about all the games and great times with Julie and my dad and mom, my brother and sisters. Yes, we saw some terrible games in very cold, wind swept, arctic-like conditions. Yes, we saw many, many losses but we never stopped believing that someday, somehow, our Giants would be the best in the world.
Maybe that is just a tiny bit of what life is like for many of us who are people of faith. There may be days when we “win” but there are just as many days that feel like a loss. Life is always a mixture of joy and sadness, love and hurt. In the midst of all that we experience there is a word from Jesus that quietly whispers to us to remember “Do not fear, only believe.”
Believe what? Believe that love never fails, love never ends, love never dies. That is the single greatest promise of the Bible. Sometimes it takes a simple little thing like a baseball game to remember that love is the answer.
As Steve Perry used to sing, “Don’t stop believin’.”