Friday, February 24, 2012

Friend Down

It is tough watching a buddy go down!

Many times I have watched my kids or my friends compete when it didn't go the way I, or they, expected. They entered the arena of competition talented, prepared, focused, and willing, yet the outcome didn't go their way. Still no matter how many times it happens, it always hurts my heart to see it. It hurts because it reminds us of something we know to be true but is seldom said - "life doesn't always work out the way we think it should". The lance sometimes knocks your friend out of the saddle, the final shot sometimes rims out, your kid may fly out in the last inning instead of knocking one over, and even with the best doctors, a good friend may still die of cancer. Sobering thoughts - maybe even sad thoughts, but real nonetheless. Life in this world is hard, sometimes really hard, but as a friend of mine says "hard as compared to what - death?" Maybe we need to remember in the midst of the heartache that at least we were in the game.

A few years ago, my son Layton was in a big baseball tournament in Dallas against a tough team from the Metroplex. With our team of nine year olds down two runs, two men on and two men out, Layton stepped to the plate in the last inning. With two strikes on him he hit a hard shot to right center field. While we were rising to our feet to celebrate, we watched the right fielder sprint over and make an amazing catch to end the game (and crush my son). My heart was broken for him but I was also extremely proud. Layton had stepped to the plate and swung. He hadn't shrunk from the heat of the moment. He had risked heartache and failure, and even though he hadn't succeeded he had experienced something many never will - the thrill of life- real life! Afterwards, I told my son what I feel the Father is telling us, which is to be thankful for the chance to be in the game.. (Jack) be thankful you got to enter the thankful for being able to take the thankful for stepping into the batters thankful for the time I had with my friend. For while these moments really hurt they also are the very spice that really makes life worth living.
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  1. A very important lesson to remember as adults and to teach our kids. I truly admire you and am glad that America is getting to see a person of your character on TV.