The name Mickey Mantle is not the greater of the two names engraved here, at least not for me. Actually, I wish that name was not on this lumber at all (curse those damn Yankees). The name in red and and all-caps, burned in by my dad when he was not much older than my two oldest are now- that name means something to me. This bat is likely the greatest Christmas gift my Dad could have given this year…or any year. The Louisville Slugger, which was carried with glove-on-end to the local sandlot fifty years ago, is the only piece of my dad’s childhood I have ever seen, let alone now own. The new heirloom points beyond itself and towards persistence and the ability to end cycles and carve new paths for new generations. I will be forever indebted for his courage and strength, love and faith.
At Christmas, we are reminded of how the Spirit stubbornly persists throughout history for the sake of the wounded and the oft-forsaken. God’s preference is for those whose names are hardly known, who dwell in the shadows of power and prestige, and have had to to fight their way through cycles of oppression and loss. If I were to guess, God especially delights in persistent children who have the audacity to etch their own names just below the likes of Mickey Mantle. Actually, these red-letter names are likely where the eyes of God are drawn to first. They are the change makers whose witness impacts generation after generation.