My Story: Sean Rooney, Valor Baseball Class of 2016

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Our new series will highlight baseball and faith stories from the Valor Baseball Class of 2016. Through the months of April and May, the graduating Eagles will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences on and off the field through Bottom of the Ninth.

Freedom Through Joy

There are two ways to look at life: one with the mindset of “Ugh, I just need to get through this,” or the mindset to find joy and beauty in something that day. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I think we can all desire for the second option here. The hard part here is trying to actually find that. We all get caught up in the busyness of life and the stress of homework, also the drama of being a high school student. To be frank, life is hard! However, that does not have to be the end of the story, life does not have to be hard and boring and hopeless.

When I traveled to Nicaragua last summer I experienced a lot of overwhelming differences. Most of you might be tired of hearing about my trip, but I have learned a crucial lesson to living life freely through having joy. So I am walking around this orphanage sweating profusely due to the 100-degree weather and 90% humidity, thinking, “How can people be used to this unbearable weather?” But looking around I see a big open field of children playing Futbol and laughing. These kids do not have parents, and only two pairs of clothes most do not have shoes that fit them, many of them are very thin and small for their age. Despite their tough life situation, all of them seem to be so unbelievably happy. I stood there watching them play and contemplated how that could be, how can they be so filled with joy when they have basically nothing? These kids had an abundance of energy and joy. So fast forward a day or two during the morning, my team and I worked to help build a basketball court, mixing cement by hand and carrying bricks and wheelbarrowing cement around. In the afternoons, we would get on a bus to go to a feeding center. The feeding center is a place that provides lunch for children who have parents, but are neglected so they walk miles with no shoes to get one meal a day. Not more than five minutes after getting to the center I have six children climbing on my back and wanting a piggyback ride and are all laughing. I have never experienced the amount of joy that these kids who had nothing had. Why were they so filled with joy?

Eventually it hit me, those kids had absolutely nothing, they experienced some unthinkable tragedies and went through things no one should ever have to go through, so all they could rely on was God and each other. They had no where else they could turn to besides God. God provided love and protection for these children. When we surrender our lives to Christ everything else will be taken care of. When God is all that we have then amazing things happen and transformations occur.

Now I know we all live life very differently from these children in Nicaragua, but the principle remains. If we can surrender our lives to God, joy and freedom from the struggles of life occur.