Back to Bowling…

When Janet and I were much younger, we were very involved in church bowling leagues and made many friendships on the lanes. We were in our early thirties and attended Carmel United Methodist Church and then Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, both of which had bowling leagues for couples. We also joined a neighborhood bowling league with friends of ours many years ago when we first moved to Indiana.

I was never a great bowler, but Janet really got into it and carried an average that was near the top for the various leagues that we were involved in. However, as time went on, we didn’t bowl as much. The kids were getting older and bowling was replaced by other things we needed to get done. Since then, we haven’t rolled a ball down a lane – I’m talking for thirty years or more  – until this week!

We just got back from some time at our beloved Greenbrier where we visit friends, fish and relax several times a year. This time, we decided to add some new things to the normal list of activities we do. We visited some other nearby communities, watched a local artisan make a beautiful bowl of hand blown glass – and we went bowling!

Yes, the Greenbrier has eight lanes and we have never, in all the years we have gone there, taken time, or even had the inclination, to try out a sport we both once enjoyed. I was worried about hurting my back and I feared that Janet, with her arthritis, may not have the strength to be able to bowl pain free.

To cut to the chase, we had a great time. Of course, it wasn’t like the old days. Thankfully, we had the entire place to ourselves so it was nice that we wouldn’t be embarrassed. More than 30 years since the last time I had put my hand on a bowling ball, we spent an enjoyable hour or more just having fun. Our scores weren’t so good, but that wasn’t the point. For a little while, we were two sixty-somethings rewinding the clock and reliving the past.

Oddly, I also thought about my early childhood and how Mom used to calm me during storms by letting me know that thunder reminded her of the angels bowling in heaven… You know what? I have never forgotten that word picture and to this day, I love the sound of thunder. The visual that Mom gave me took away whatever fears I had as a toddler about storms. Mind you, I still don’t like hail! So when Janet rolled that first ball down lane 8 at the Greenbrier, I was reminded of how much thunder sounds like bowling in heaven. I loved it…

I am always amazed at how strong thunder sounds. Not that faint noise in the background – but that bowling alley kind of thunder. The undeniable rumble followed by an explosion at the end. And since my earliest days, I always associate thunder with heaven, and with God. The Scriptures are full of references to thunder. Tonight’s verse equates thunder to the mighty nature of God. The psalmist lets us know in Psalm 93:4, “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the LORD on high is mighty.”

My encouragement this evening is that we never know when we will be reminded of heaven and God in our everyday lives. My prayer is that we will be aware of the presence of God in our daily activities. He is with us always – even at the bowling alley! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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