The lights were out and we were all gathered together, sprawled out on the bunk beds, diving into the bedtime story, reading by the light from our headlamps.
It was a riveting tale of soldiers, courage, danger and espionage; something for every young boy.
I read the story with great drama, excited that all three were captivated by the tale of a young soldier hoping to serve her country by volunteering to become one of the first spies in United States history.
For thirty minutes, we read about the girl’s struggles as a young woman with an abusive childhood, her difficulties leading her to becoming a runaway, and finally the decision to join the battle against the Yankees; the turning point came when she discovered her best friend had been killed, provoking her to disguise herself as a boy and become a spy.
As we talked about the danger of spying and how captured spies were often killed, the boys’ eyes got bigger and bigger and they edged closer and closer to my side.
Finally one asked, “But, why would the Yankees kill someone?”
“Well, honey, this was war. Terrible things happen in war.”
“But, how would the Yankees do it? With bats?”
“No. I believe they would use their muskets and canons. That’s primarily what they used back then.”
“That’s not right. It’s not fair.”
“What do you mean?”
“To kill someone. Over a baseball game. Why would an umpire allow that?”
“What? Oh… right. Okay, let’s go back to the beginning…”
My Own Yankee Confusions
The next day, I began thinking about how many times I have misunderstood, assuming something to be true only to be confused later.
As we take information into our world, we understand it based on our experiences, presumptions, and beliefs. But, what happens when we realize that some of those definitions or experiences are assumed or second-hand knowledge?
As a kid, I remember my father challenging me to verify his facts, beliefs, and ideas by studying them for myself; whether it was regarding a science project or a theology. “Don’t take my word for it,” he’d say. “Look it up. Study it out. See it for yourself.”
As we go through lives, it is deeply important that we examine the ideas we allow to rule our lives; whether they are personal beliefs we’ve held about ourselves, views of life, or interpretations of faith. Sometimes, we’ll discover that beliefs we’ve always known to be concrete, were not true. At other times, we’ll be relieved when something we’ve always questioned becomes clear. Occasionally, our exploration simply confirms the foundational ideas that have been apart of our life for years.
Regardless of what we encounter, as we dig out truths through the dust and decay of our understanding, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with relief, and joy, and peace gained only through self-discovery.
Whatever the case may be, the image of stripped uniformed Yankees wading through swamps carrying muskets, baseballs and secret messages, will now be the wonderful trigger in my mind to make certain that my own beliefs and understanding are complete, full and true.
Just one more reminder that I can’t live in assumptions.
I mean, we all know what happens when we assume. 😉