4/6/15 (I wrote this to my sons over 2 years ago when Jason was a junior in high school and Christian was still a year from starting his high school career. It seems somewhat prophetic now that J has begun his college baseball career at U of Santa Clara and C committed to play baseball at U of Washington after he graduates in 2019. Coincidence – I’m fairly certain there’s more to it than that.)
“Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.” — Friedrich Schiller
This is when life is so liberating. It’s when the exquisite and magnificent inner-structural components are pieced together so that we are momentarily elevated above the normalcy of our routine existence! Wow, that was quite the combination of “big” words and the reason is that I’m not sure I’m able to precisely describe and articulate the moments where the “grace” and “freedom” converge as mentioned above. I just know when it happens because it just seems and it feels that way!
I sometimes feel guilty because it happens so frequently during the most mundane moments when I slow down, take more in that’s around me, and make those moments not just part of me but able to surround them as opposed to letting them surround and overwhelm me.
When I read this quote, I instinctively went back to younger days and the freedom I felt during the buildup before, and the release of the usual daily boundaries right when I crossed onto the baseball field for any reason. This occurred at almost any age starting from little league through high school and up until those ultra-competitive adult leagues I played in where the quality of the players kept alive my personalized and frenzied addiction to the sport. I guess it was during those times that my life truly belonged to me, free of external obligations and responsibilities. It’s funny but even though other players and coaches surrounded me, sometimes they were just voices in the background while I settled into my own individual state of reality.
I know baseball is considered a team sport but for it to have any particular meaning so that players can perform by and through the inner power that’s possessed, it has to be experienced and measured in accordance by individual models for successful attainment of “baseball nirvana”, devoid of external restrictions or limitations. Is thIs that odd or do you guys ever feel that way because it can’t just be me, can it?
There was no one particular moment that baseball generated such an instinctive and personal state of mind but it was no doubt a combination of: the feeling of a ball settling into my glove; that same ball being released traveling stealthily along different horizontal angles and distances; an unbridled pitch that is captured, corralled, and released under the control of a bat; the acceleration around a base where the body is catapulted by the feet and legs towards the next destination that almost certainly belongs to you; and/or the “punch out” pinch or play to end an inning and jogging calmly off the mound or your position knowing that it’s all you can do to control yourself from exalting in the air and fist-pumping all the way back to the dugout (don’t do that or you’ll invite a retaliatory pitch but then again Jason would welcome getting hit by a pitch and then steal second and maybe third).
I got snippets of those days teaching and coaching you boys but living through you guys just doesn’t come close to replacing those feelings that were left behind. J and C, remember that smile on my face you saw in that old high school video I showed you? There’s no way to recall the precise thoughts in my head or during so many times after when art was inter-spliced with actual, living moments, but I’m guessing you have an idea. But the best part about being a fan of you two in the stands is that I don’t have to restrict myself from expressing the excitement you elicit out of me when you the things that seem to come so natural to you knowing that few others are capable of them.
Oh and don’t ask me to calm it down because I can’t, I won’t, and shouldn’t have to, because it’s my connection with not just you guys but a love of a sport that was created well before and evolved well before you were born! Just deal with it and bust your ass on the field because emotionally, so am I on the other side of it.
“Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.” Think of this quote and apply it to why you are still playing baseball and plan to continue to do so at a high(er) level while others couldn’t or won’t be able to forge the same transference.
Obviously you found love and enjoyment in the sport through discovery and/or influence along while growing up with so many others around you. But who’s left among those who you played against and why? I’m guessing it’s because your sport requires maximum elevation allowing maximum mental, spiritual, and physical evolution leading to maximum execution that has to be harnessed and directed towards specific objectives that form the standards of your own personal goals and aspirations. This my friends is where grace equals freedom and feeling anything different means you’re not thinking the right way, not loving the game so that it loves you back, or letting the wrong things enter in your own individual sphere to disturb what is one of the most magical and rewarding relationships that you’ll experience. Eliminate that from happening and just enjoy where the resulting freedom takes you!
Last thing: Remember the outcome will most times take care of itself if the approach is sound. Not always but once you’re in the right place and where you need to be before you cross the write lines, the only surprises in store should work in your favor and against your opponents but then again, there are really few surprises when you put everything out there that continues to form the masterpieces you create!
So get your mind right because “we seek purpose when we are not in touch with who we really are. When an apple tree discovers who it is, the question ‘what must I do?’ disappears. When you discover who you are (at the deepest part of your being) you will find your purpose.” — Colleen-Joy Page
“You were given a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you’?.”
Whether it be to God, family, friends, a loved one, or even random stranger who was kind to you, don’t miss the opportunity to express a level of gratitude. If to God, don’t forget to thank Him for the challenges and obstacles you’ll face because by exhausting your efforts to overcome them, you find and define yourself and ultimately begin to understand His intensions and why He has faith in you and each other.
Also in those numerous seconds, mix in a few hugs, smiles to others, laughs, “I love you’s”, silly moments, tears if your heart is moved that much, and reflections of the day. It took me a long time to realize this so I pass it on to you my Child. Trust me, it’s so worth it!
7/14/14 (originally posted 1/15)
“One word or a pleasing smile is often enough to raise up a saddened and wounded soul.” – Therese of Lisieux
I don’t really think that God has created us with the unrealistic expectation that we would create a cure for cancer or solve world hunger. It would be unbelievable if we could but it is no less remarkable than recognizing that someone may benefit from a simple kind gesture. It is difficult to justify ignoring such an opportunity when that person is close to you.
It does not matter what kind of response in return you receive because that person may be so immersed in their inner turmoil to respond as we would expect. They just need to realize that they are not alone, forgotten, or ignored, because in time they will realize it.
It would be a betrayal of the gifts and blessings of the good fortune given by our Creator and family to step over a chance to simply share a smile because so many in our vicinity need one. Maybe you have momentarily been there and it’s reasonable to predict you might encounter similar situations. Make sure you offer what you would gratefully appreciate and need during those times. We do not live in a vacuum nor are we alone and it takes so little to contribute to life’s basic simple elegance.