The other night I got caught up in watching “The Field of Dreams” once again. I think this one and “The Natural” are my two favorite baseball movies. But we all know that it is more about relationships than baseball. “Dreams” harkens back to the days when the “Eight Men Out” story was the front page news. It is how Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other players were banned for life from baseball for supposedly throwing a game (letting the other team win on purpose for money). Jackson was never found to have done anything to help throw the game… he took the money but did not participate in the crime.
“Dreams” finds this progressive Iowa farmer out in his corn field early one evening when he hears a voice saying: “If you build it, they will come.” He questions this voice but receives no answer. Finally, he sees this baseball field where his corn field is and realizes that he is being asked to build a field where baseball dreams can come true, not only for the gang of eight, but for all people.
Near the end of the movie this dreaming farmer has to make a decision between keeping the field and losing his farm. James Earl Jones (Terence Mann) makes an impassioned speech about why he should keep the field:
“Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Certainly baseball is not the one constant in our lives. Only God is that. But one thing that is constant is that if we build a field where people can find peace in their souls, dreams will come true, relationships will be healed, and peace will abound. Many of us, perhaps all of us long for that time when things were good. And we need that goodness today to bring us to that place of peace in our soul.
Grace and Peace
May you find a Field of Peace in 2018