Secret beauty and bounty

I couldn’t get quite enough of Ryne Sandberg on Saturday, so I attended two more games before he and his boys left OKC.

During Tuesday’s game, I was sitting behind the home dugout when a foul ball rolled outside the third-base line. Sandberg picked it up, and people immediately jumped up and started shouting: “Ryno! Throw it! Hey, Ryno — over here!”

I kept quiet, watching as Sandberg gave the crowd a quick once-over, spotted a little boy sitting in the front row, and tossed him the ball.

Good form, I thought. As┬áthe guys around me let out a disappointed groan, I leaned forward to watch the little boy’s reaction, laughing as he turned excitedly to his chaperone, who was already breaking out her cell phone.

When I glanced back up, I noticed that Sandberg was watching the same scene, with the same level of delight. That alone would have made me happy — after all, it’s wonderful to find out that a celebrity is as classy as you’d hoped — but a split-second later, I caught something even better than a game ball.

I caught Ryno’s eye.

He grinned at the kid, glanced back up at me, and gave me this sort of knowing smile, as if to say: “Oh, good — you saw that, too.”

As I was mentally replaying game highlights today, I thought about that brief, silent exchange, and I remembered a line from Science and Health:

“Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God.”

— Mary Baker Eddy

Beauty and bounty shouldn’t be secret, and they shouldn’t be hidden. In reality, they aren’t. They’re hiding in plain sight. The trouble is that mortal mind, with its emphasis on matter, has a way of obscuring them.

Everybody saw Ryno toss that ball. But once it landed in somebody else’s hands, they lost interest.

Had the ball been the gift, that might have made sense. But Ryno’s gift wasn’t the ball. That wasn’t where the beauty and bounty were. The beauty and bounty were in the boy’s response to an act of kindness by a man he admired. Ryno’s gift was a child’s joy. And it was there for everyone to share; we just had to look past matter to see it.