How Baseball and Prayer Brought Her Comfort

Her faith helped her through the difficulties of being in a split family.

by - Posted on Jun 25, 2013

Kelly Ann Riley, author of Disappearing Acts, from Secrets of Mary's Bookshop

Riley is the author of Disappearing Acts, part of the Secrets of Mary's Bookshop series from Guideposts Books.

When I was a child, I looked forward to summer all year. Even now, when warm weather rolls around, anticipation blooms right along with the garden. Maybe it's because my childhood consisted of two distinct worlds.

My parents divorced when I was very young and my brother, sister and I spent the school years with my mom near Boston and the summers with my dad in California. My faith helped me through the difficulties of being in a split family. An energetic church youth group and a great Christian school kept me busy and happy during most of the year, but my dad was never far from my thoughts.  Praying for him in my nightly prayers brought me comfort until I could see him again.

My father was a very busy physician, but while we were living with him, he put in as much time as he could with us.  One of my fondest memories is going to baseball games at Dodger Stadium.  Now, I wouldn't classify myself as an avid sports fan. But attending a live game at the stadium is a different matter, and going with my dad was an adventure.

Where else could you yell at the top of your lungs for the home team and drop peanut shells at your feet? Most of all I loved being with my family. My dad would teach us about baseball stats and strategies of the game.  I realize now that like a baseball team, the more time we spent together, the stronger and closer we became.

I was blessed to be able to relive some of those special moments while writing Disappearing Acts. Mary Fisher and her sister Betty also have happy childhood memories of their summers, spending time on Cape Cod with their grandparents and attending local baseball games. Later they created similar happy times with their own families.

It's no wonder, then, that when a treasured autographed baseball belonging to Mary's late husband disappears under mysterious circumstances, she won't rest until it's found. I can understand how Mary feels: I still have one of the warm, fuzzy blankets that we'd take along to the stadium just in case the air turned chilly. It's one of my favorite mementos and I'd hate to lose it. Every time I wrap up in it, I think of my dad and those wonderful summer evenings. 

I will never forget those special times. Like with Mary, the shout of "Play ball!," the crack of the bat and the cheering crowd will forever symbolize those times where ties of family love were strengthened.  Now that I have children of my own, I thank God for the lessons he taught me to never take my family for granted and to cherish every moment with them.

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