Ray Bosch

Playing with Empty Hands: Christy’s Story

Ballin’ Like a Big Shot

When she would shoot, it was always a swoosh. When she dribbled, it was between the legs and around the back. And when it was a no-look pass, it was the slickest alley-oop you’d ever seen. Or in this case imagined. At 34 years old and a whopping 4 foot 6, she was our determined Down Syndrome winner of hearts and the star of every imaginary game she had ever played in our family room back home.

My sister Christy played every position on the court, including coach, sometimes simultaneously. If she wanted she could have been the referee too, but anyone who knows her could tell you she wasn’t the biggest fan of them, or really any form of authority.

I was always blown away with her astoundingly accurate movements. I never questioned, just observed. She was a master of her craft. Even now I joke that in high school, when I got cut from the team, she made varsity (as the water girl). It was as if she had a real basketball in her hands. There was no doubt or hesitation in her play. If it was a pass, you knew it was executed precisely when needed and to whom it was prescribed. How can you play so confidently with empty hands?

Lord – Fill My Empty Hands

Jesus Christ is the one who changes hearts, my mission is merely to provoke that transformation. If I’m going to do that I must be continually working on my own relationship with Christ. I must be willing to be transformed for the better. Sometimes that change appears to be invisible, nonexistent and impossible. I know my flaws and failures better than anyone and at times I struggle to see the ball. I struggle to see the possibility of my own transformation.

The reality is – I have nothing. No power to change the world, no way of transforming a heart, nothing. But Jesus does. Every day whether it be in formation or on retreat I’m asking for His grace, mercy and guidance, praying that he will make me into the man He’s called me to be. I am playing a game with what looks like empty hands, trusting that He will show up.

Christy’s games were never boring, they were always close. Often I feel like that’s the case with my faith. It’s easy for me to play confidently when I’m up by 10, but what about when I’m down 5? Will I play and trust the Lord with as much confidence as she did?

My sister taught me what it meant to live with reckless faith, and how to live through the power of prayer. She prayed with the same confidence as she played basketball – with complete trust and assurance in a loving God. She knew He would be there for every alley-oop, no matter the obstacles.

At times I feel like the last pick for the team, but even if I am, does it really matter? There once was a little girl with disabilities, who many thought wouldn’t survive birth, let alone live for 34 years. In those 34 years she played life with more passion and faith than most do in a lifetime.

We are common people but with faith we can do uncommon, amazing things. Each day I want to and must play like that ball really is there, even though I may not be able to see it. I must be confident that when I throw the no-look pass, He will be there to catch it. I need to trust that when I speak and act in His name, He will use me to bring His Gospel to the world.

Until I join the pros, I’ll be practicing my dribbling (around the back and all), my nothing-but-net shooting and my no-look passes, so that one day I can ball with the best – the saints in heaven and again with my sister Christy Bosch!

Ray Bosch

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