Absentee Father?

Some people may remember the Hogsetts as the “softball family.”  I suppose this is the normal progression when a family consists of five (!) daughters, a baseball buff father (unfortunately, the only time the word “buff” will be used to describe me) and a consummate supportive/involved mother.

It started out innocently enough.  I didn’t even realize Little League Softball for girls existed until my two oldest daughters, Amber and Kara, brought home entry forms that had been handed out at school.  Little did I know this would eventually lead to coaching, league administration and travel ball that replaced summer vacations for many years.  I always say, “Show me a coach or a league president and I’ll show you someone who wasn’t quick enough on his feet to lie his way out of being asked to volunteer!”  But as the cliché goes, I wouldn’t trade that period of my life for all the money in the world.

In the first year or two of our softball affiliation, I was just a bystander parent.  I wouldn’t have minded helping out, but I’m typically not a person who needs to be in charge.  So I was perfectly happy watching from the bleachers.  Both girls excelled, especially considering their late start, as many of their teammates had been playing since t-ball.  As well as Amber played when I was there, occasionally I would miss a game and find out later that she had performed exceptionally.  She never seemed to have these outstanding games when I was present.  At first I thought this was just my bad luck, but I finally talked with her about it and was dismayed to learn it made her very nervous when I attended games and she would prefer I did not attend.

Although somewhat heartbroken by my oldest daughter’s honesty, I decided that for her sake I would attend games, but position myself in a place where she could not see me and thus not know I was there.  Picture a grown man crouched down between cars or lurking under a jungle gym.  I was that guy.  This went on for several months until Amber started to figure it out, but by that time she had developed more confidence and (sort of) began to welcome my presence at games.

As I reminisce about this, I wonder if I made a mistake by letting my beloved daughter believe I was absent from her games.  In my limited earthly wisdom, I did what I thought at the time was best.  Sometimes we might go through events in our lives where we think God is not there for us.  We should know that He is always watching us, even when we can’t see Him.  Unlike this earthly dad, our Father in Heaven does not make mistakes.  In His flawless Heavenly wisdom, He knows the perfect time to reveal His constant presence and always knows what is best for us.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).