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Have you seen the baseball / Mrs. Carol Custer connection?

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File:The bunt.jpgThis past weekend my son and I went to see the Atlanta Braves play at Turner Field.  For a nine year old boy who was seeing his first major league game, going to a huge city for the first time, being one of 50,000 for the first time this was a lot to take in.

Doing stuff like this, I think, is how dads remember what it’s like to be a son – my favorite game on a beautiful field of dreams shared with the most special boy in the world to me.  Why did I feel like my inner kid was being fed?

It wasn’t just the experience of our being at a major league game that made the little boy in me leap with glee.  Seeing the little things about baseball once again – the homerun, the bunt, the steal, the strike out, the double play, yada yada – for the five hundredth time seeing again the little deeds of baseball that make me feel it is a game like no other. (or as George Will might say: “unlike” )

There is another athletic deed we saw.  We saw the sacrifice fly.  Atlanta, bottom of the 5th, McLouth got on first.  Gonzalez up next hits the ball in the air.  It is caught.  He’s out, but McLouth is able to advance to second base putting him in scoring position.  Gonzalez was serving his team by sacrificing for his team.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work and that’s good.

Which brings me to Carol Custer.  She passed into the Presence of her Lord on October 10th.  Her earthly journey, 77 years long, had ended.  As C. S. Lewis said she is now “on holiday.”

She was the loyal wife of Steward Custer, our Pastor Emeritus at Trinity.  Mrs. Custer wasn’t a homerun hitter, if you know what I mean.  No flashing lights or fireworks.  Her life was all about “the sacrifice fly.”  She served by sacrificing.  (Is it possible to really serve others without sacrificing?) 

Dr. and Mrs. Custer photo by GoodmanPhotography.com

Dr. and Mrs. Custer {photo C2010 Goodman Photography}

A few months ago I was surprised to see she had set up a Facebook page.  Surprised, but “awesome” I thought.  So after years – decades – of going to the same church marknkristi finally became Mrs. Custer’s friends.  Like most curious animals I took a look at her FB page – in particular her info page.

I had to smile when I saw the “About Me” section – nothing there except the words, “It’s not about me.”  Classic Carol Custer.  That was classic Carol Custer.  That wasn’t a cutesie sassy expression on her part.  She lived that motto.

I never saw her play baseball or know if she ever played it, even once, but I’m sure, very sure, she understood the “sacrifice fly” – the meaning inside the sacrifice fly that is.  One day at Trinity I asked her how she was doing.  You know how we ask people ‘how they’re doing’ and don’t expect an answer longer than a short phrase or maybe one sentence.  (We’re often too busy for more than that – yeah, fraid so).

Her face lit up and she went on the tell me a list of things she was doing for her husband and how she didn’t feel it was lesser work to be in the background and how it as her joy to help him do his ministry and how he had his ministry and her ministry was to help free him to do his writing, preaching, etc.

I did not sense at all that this was someone on their soap box with the worn out speech “A Woman’s Place Is In The Home.”  I came away from a “hi, how are you” that turned into an extended conversation of “I am so happy to be doing things for others, to sacrifice for others.”  No pride, no rant, just an expression of joyful service to God.

The sacrifice fly Carol Custer’s way.  Serving others by sacrificing.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work and that’s good.  How did Carol Custer intersect your life?


One thought on “Have you seen the baseball / Mrs. Carol Custer connection?

  1. I pray that I can be that “sacrifice fly” for my husband. We’re military, and right now he is in training again. He needs time to study and prepare to be a commissioned officer with a full knowledge of his job and duty. Mrs. Custer was always a good illustration to me of working to help my husband work better. She is greatly missed.

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