This is not a book review, although I sincerely believe you would benefit immensely by tracking down this book – through the local library or through an online book provider like Amazon or Barnes & Noble – and reading it carefully.
The book: “Safe at Home” by Bob Muzikowski. If I have one warning, it’s this…the book was published in 2001, so tracking it down might be a challenge. But it’s definitely worth it.
Because it’s a story of personal redemption and salvation, of community service and dedication, of struggles and successes, of heartbreak and heartbreak. And the best part is that it’s a true story.
And if you are a fan of youth sports, especially youth baseball, this book will capture your imagination and your heart.
Let me give you an idea of the author: he was once referred to by the New York Times as “Little League Baseball’s Johnny Appleseed.” It’s a terrific title to have hooked on anyone. Probably not since Little League Baseball founder Carl Stots has anyone been mentioned in those terms.
Muzikowski’s story is as deep as it gets on many issues, all within the context of youth baseball. It tackles addiction, money chasing, racism, faith and more.
It was through the lessons he learned, some the hard way, that he moved toward redemption and salvation. Once he began to recognize the important messages – such as “Store not your treasures on the ground where moth and rust corrupt and thieves creep in and steal; lay up your treasures in heaven – for where your treasures are, there will your heart be also” – so Muzikowski began to create a different, more positive purpose for his life.
It took time, but once he did, the results were incredibly positive.
he also developed a unique perspective – one we should all adopt – on those who choose to spend their days on street corners begging for money. In his words: “It’s the pink elephant in the living room that no one dares to talk about, yet it is at the heart of so many urban issues.
It’s here in small town America too.
“The man who begs… doesn’t need ‘some change’. He needs sobriety, a job, and accountability to the person who got him that job.
“Making those connections takes time and effort. And yes, you might “get used to it” once in a while. But it’s not like getting nailed to a cross.
As long as I ask you to think a little deeper than usual, how about this riddle (also courtesy of Muzikowski): Three frogs were sitting on a log. One of them decided to jump. How many were left?
We will come back to it.
In his book, Muzikowski asks very difficult questions – once about himself and now about everyone else.
He writes, “I think we all need to do some soul-searching. I mean, if we go to church and sing this “I Surrender All” hymn, something’s got to give. We have supposedly heard what the Bible says. We read Jesus’ teaching on loving our neighbors. And in the American churches, we have more resources than any nation in history. So why aren’t we doing more in our communities?
He keeps on …
“Jesus didn’t say, ‘When you paid someone to do it to the least of them…’ And he didn’t even say, ‘When you prayed for someone’ one do it to the least of them…’ said was, ‘When you did it to the least of them, you did it to me.’”
I have one more thing to share with you that was passed down to Muzikowski from his father: “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand. in times of challenge and controversy.”
Powerful things, but don’t think that’s the most powerful thing that happens in this book. It’s not. It’s always about the journey to baseball and youth.
OK, I hope you can find this book. And listen, if you just want to skip the search, let me know and I’ll lend you my copy.
Now, how many of these frogs are left? The correct answer is three. The one frog may have decided to jump – just as we all decided to do something – but, like us too so often, he didn’t.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or [email protected]