Field of Dreams - Moonlight Graham


Field of Dreams - Following Your True Calling
by Keith Wahl

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” - John 15:16

As fans of Field of Dreams know, Ray Kinsella and Terrance Mann are prompted by the voice to “Go the distance” while sitting in Fenway Park. As the voice speaks, the statistics of “Moonlight” Graham flash on the Fenway scoreboard, visible only to Ray and Terrance. Graham played one inning of one game and never got to bat. It was his only appearance in the major leagues (Graham was a real guy - same name, a doctor, the whole nine, click here to read more).

Kinsella is able to bump into Graham on the streets of a small town in Minnesota in a sort of ghostly time warp. Graham explains that it was the last game of the season and, though he had been up for a few weeks, he hadn’t played. In the final inning of the final game of the season, he goes in to right field. He makes no plays and doesn’t get to bat. After the season, Graham hangs up his cleats.

As I watched the film again, I came to recognize that Kinsella and Graham represent two different kinds of people. Ray is unsettled at the possibility of regret. It seems that he has many regrets himself and he’s trying to mend the regrets of others with the field he built at his home in Iowa. Graham is different. When Kinsella pushes him hard about his wish, but Graham replies quietly, “It will have to stay a wish. I was born here, I live here, and I’ll die here. But no regrets.” Graham has a peace, a peace that passes all understanding.

It saddens me to say that I am far more like Ray Kinsella than I am “Moonlight” Graham. I spent a great number of years living out Ray’s line, “It would kill some men to get that close to their dream and not touch it.” You can’t get as close as I did to a championship dogpile that many times without continuing to pursue it, or so I once thought. What I’ve learned is that a lack of peace begets, or bears fruit, as a lack of peace.

“Moonlight” Graham understood the peace that comes through following your true calling, whether it is inside or outside the game. The idea of regrets caused by a game is vastly overrated. I like this idea Graham throws into his conversation with Ray when he says, “We don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they are happening.” In our culture, we’re constantly seeking to identify those significant moments, but they might only appear when we’re not looking so hard.

Graham says, “Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy.” I wonder what that is for me. I’m still searching for that thing, and I wonder if I’ll find it only when I stop looking and just do something for a long period of time like Graham did. My hope is that more of us seek and come to know our callings in the way that Graham. I think a deep acceptance and joy around that calling would be a tremendous gift.