Defined as a pitch thrown with a snap of the wrist and strong downward spin causing a sudden drop with deceptive veer, you are frequently used by pitchers to cause a batter to create an out rather than a hit. Growing up an athlete, sports analogies are frequent in my life. My mind functions in the sports realm, and honestly sometimes it’s easier to process life through the lens of sports.
I’m not quite sure where it originated, but anytime an unexpected turn happens in life I tend to bring you up. You’re a go-to phrase in my world. We all know life isn’t going to just throw us fat, down the gut fastballs. Instead, you get thrown our way a ton. Unexpected opportunities may arise. Hardships will come our way. No matter what you look like, you will come our way.
This brings me to today, which really brings me to last summer. I’ve been drafting this in my mind for months. Some posts are easy to write because they can be written flippantly. This is not one of them. At camp this summer, I received an unexpected phone call informing me my 4th nephew to be born in December would be Down’s syndrome. Shocking, yes. However, I feel like the Lord had prepared my heart for this. A sweet family in Branson has a 10-year-old son with Down’s syndrome, and while I haven’t spent a ton of time with him I have been able to watch his development and joy for life from afar. Shocking, yes, but my world wasn’t really shaken.
I still don’t know what it was like to experience walking through this type of news with those directly affected. I only communicated through the phone and email during the initial stages. Regardless of my emotions, my sister and brother-in-law were directly dealing with a very unexpected version of you. You never expect your unborn child to be diagnosed with abnormalities. This happens to other people, not us.
Through time, tears and trust, my family was able to embrace life for what it was despite “normal.’ Emerson Knox Smith would enter the world and be loved no matter what diagnoses he had. Curveball thrown”…the batter (my family) began to deal with it.
Fast forward to Oct. 23rd: Jamie put on bed rest. Curveball. Nov. 1st: Admitted to the hospital. Her blood pressure was raising and medicine wasn’t lowering it. Eventually it became unmanageable and an emergency C-section was the only option. Curveball. Nov. 5th: Emerson arrives 6 weeks early at 3 lbs. 10 oz. and healthier than expected!
He will be in the NICU at least until his due date of Dec. 18th, but he’s gaining weight daily. Doctors say he doesn’t have all the markers for Down’s however the spectrum is varied. Despite a blood transfusion after her C-section, Jamie is healthy. Honestly, the circumstances are best-case scenario on every level. We could not be more thankful.
Curveballs will be thrown. The question is how will we as “batters’ handle ourselves when the pitch comes? Life, the world and Satan want us to stand frazzled and thrown off by it. The Lord wants us to be thoroughly trained to adjust our swing and at least try to knock the fire out of the pitch. We won’t always make contact, but that’s why there are three strikes in baseball. When the curveballs are thrown, we must adjust, keep our eye on the ball, dig our cleats into the Lord and His truth and develop perseverance. Sometimes the curve will get the best of us”…we live in a broken world. Other times, we’ll get the best of the curveball.
Emerson may have been a curveball in our worldly eyes, but the Lord knew what He was doing the entire time. I firmly believe he’s going to be the best pitch thrown our way this year, and the fun part is the Lord gets to refine us in our faith and reliance on Him in the process.
Working toward a lifetime where I’ll increase my batting average,
Embracer of curveballs