Community When You’re Up…or Down

Saturday was a jagged up and down day celebrating community.

A week ago I baptized two teenagers, and on Saturday they faced off against each other in a ballgame. What a joy to watch them and two more in our youth group compete. In the top of the inning I cheered for left field. In the bottom of the inning I cheered for left field again—and for shortstop and first base.

I grew up playing slow pitch softball—which was nothing like this. These pitchers shot the ball out of a rocket launcher so that a base hit was a genuine accomplishment.

I had everything I needed to make it a perfect game. The hot dog condiments included hand-sliced, sweet and delicious cherry tomatoes. One of the best dogs ever! The 45 SPF sunscreen was just what the doctor ordered on a cloudless Saturday afternoon in Southern California.

On the other side of the city—7 minutes away—I attended a very different event. Our city came together to support my friend who has advanced melanoma. He gave me a warm hug and a smile in the lobby of the athletic club where he has worked for several years.

Next stop, the silent auction. I bid on a gift card from a yogurt shop—for me. And I bid on a beautiful “silver spoon” bracelet with a stone of my wife’s favorite color. Then, out to the children’s play area; my friend’s little girl smiled at me with her face painted as a tigress. Her eyes sparkled and she hugged me. She’s a year older from when I baptized her.

Talked with some old friends. Met some new friends. Then back to the silent auction where I surprised myself: I recaptured the high bid on both the yogurt gift card and on the silver bracelet. My only hope was that I wouldn’t win the bid on both. Dinner with friends.

At the end of the day, I did not win yogurt or a bracelet. I did take home something very good. The bracelet I got there says simply: FIGHT BELIEVE WIN. I am praying for my friend’s body, mind and soul. He is carrying a heavy load—but not alone. He has a community surrounding him.

I am grateful that God gives us faithful community.


About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Ojai Valley, public square and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Community When You’re Up…or Down

  1. Jo says:

    Awesome picture at the st.louis arch. Joe U.

  2. Ben Unseth says:

    When you hire an engineer to shoot pictures, you get top quality!

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