Seeing this linked article, which I consider must-see for anyone, especially those who think they’ll never be without bootstraps, triggered a memory I’ve never shared before.
I want to now. And the reason, although this is not an event that changed anyone’s world. But, I know it revealed what my parents taught me about fair-play and consideration we each have gifts…and liabilities. I want to share it because of the heart of a young girl I met yesterday at church, whose middle name has to be Vulnerability. Yet, there’s nothing vulnerable about her and her mother. The mother is Gena Hargrove and her daughter is Lannie.
The moment happened yesterday as I walked from the church’s fellowship hall to the sanctuary. Lannie was in a stroller. She had a smile that would melt any icy spirit. Her mother explained her daughter cannot talk or walk. And yet, her smile…well, it was contagious—and—very, very real. The attitude of the mother was so incredible…she gave love its essence. Love flowed from Gena and Lannie. That said to me, never not help, never let judgment rule our understanding. And. Never forget we each have needs and we each are called for integrity, no matter the results. See? How rare that is today.
Anyway. My memory this morning triggered by the most wonderful experience yesterday at the First Christian Church in Lexington, Texas. Spoke about my experience the week before…and, gulp, the congregation had doubled yesterday. That’s not the point. The point is the voice of our heart.
Let me continue about my dealing with vulnerability. Which may result in your thinking I’m a loser. Hey, that’s okay. What you think is less important than how you act.
It happened at Benson High School’s baseball field, the Spring of 1955, Portland, Oregon. I had the joyous opportunity be the starting pitcher the last baseball game of the season for our Jefferson High School Democrats. [Yep, that’s our name!!!] As a freshman, well, that was so important.
The pitcher on the other team, also a freshman, was Tom Brockmeyer. Tall, maybe 6’ 4”, not bulky, right handed, threw good fastballs. As I came to the plate the first time I noticed something. Blinked. Got out of the batter’s box and blinked again. I batted left-handed. I saw—maybe the third baseman thought I was the next Mickey Mantle, since I had the same initials [!], was back on the edge of the infield. Perfect. To bunt up the third base line.
I then looked at Brockmeyer and saw…he was club-footed. Which meant his ability to field a bunt was less than anyone ever. But. For whatever reason my “insides” said to not bunt. Hit away, Miller.
Okay. I’m not noble. I just wanted us to be, at least in that moment, on the same playing field. I didn’t want to take advantage. Not a hero. Not anything to write home about. But, when seeing this link this morning, I thought of batting against Tom Brockmeyer.
Truth? I don’t remember what happened. I only remember the voice of my heart…and I felt more than okay about not bunting. Maybe I got a hit. Maybe I struck out. But I didn’t bunt. Didn’t seem the right thing to do. And it did feel good. I was able to pitch the complete game. And as a surprise, Tom came up after the game and said, “You’re good. Don’t know your name. But. You have a great future. The umpire told our coach he’d never seen a better curve ball…and he’s umped 15 years.” He tapped my shoulder. “He was talking about you because I’m not left-handed.”
I couldn’t believe it. Not the curve ball. But the character and class and value of Tom Brockmeyer…just like the class and value of the mother and child yesterday in Lexington. And the class and value of the runner in the link. That memory was triggered by the wonderful spirit of Gena and the smile, ear to ear, of Lannie. And the link below.
All good. All good.