I remember who I was here, though if you had asked me at the time, there’s no chance I would have claimed to have a grasp on that. I still wrestle with who I’ve been since. I haven’t touched my guitar since last August. I took a job as a full-time baseball writer. I haven’t cut my hair in two years. I am a time-traveler here in this place, giving a slightly-more-wrinkled smile, a knowing hug, a deep breath, a warning of the world to come, a reassurance that it both gets better and gets worse, and yet, you’re still here, at least as far as we’ve been able to know so far.
I haven’t logged in to Facebook (except to post baseball articles to that page) in quite some time. I used to host lengthy discussions about the finer points of touchy topics there, attempt to reach across the chasm and help infuse understanding and strip away some acrimony across either side of the divide. But I grew weary and so every day for the last seven months, I have written about the grass and the chalk and the ephemeral mystery of an impossibly big cathedral, and the men who fly around it like seraphs, capturing little round white prayers before they land on God’s grassy green ears.
Outside, the world has burned. A movie super-villain has captured our worst imaginations. He will lose the election, but he has given legitimacy, a voice and a boldness to the loudest and worst opponents of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And because he has done so while wearing the red uniform instead of the blue uniform, he has been endorsed by many in the religion of love, joy, peace, patience, and so on, and so forth; the same religion that balked at our current president and refused to believe that he was a Christian has now spun on their heel and lectured about how we are not electing a savior, but a leader.
After all, what good is a team without the indefatigable support of its fans?
And yet, there is still much good to be found. My children are seven and three years old now. We have talks now about what it means to to stand up for what is good while not starting unnecessary fights. Acknowledge that others believe differently. Protect the weak. Respect the rights of others. Be courageous, even when you are afraid.
I doubt. I believe. I feel ill-at-ease in this body. I get passing glimpses of what it means to belong, so I must belong somewhere. I hope. I despair. I hope. I despair.
And so, while so much has changed, much has not.
I am still here. I miss seeing all of you on the road. My heart still swells with gratitude when I think of my time in your living rooms, your coffee shops, your churches, your bars. I hope you are well.
In despair, in hope,