It's blog time. I was going to write about tricks of the trade -- techniques I've learned that seem effective in some areas of my life -- along with musings about why I can't seem to find such techniques to apply in other areas.
But the topic crowding my mind is timing. For everything there is a season ...
What brought it to the forefront was the tragedy at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday, when 39-year-old firefighter Shannon Stone, who was at the baseball game with his 6-year-old son, Cooper, died after apparently losing his balance and falling over a railing and hitting his head on concrete after catching a foul ball he had asked All-Star and MVP outfielder Josh Hamilton to toss to them.
How can there be a season for something like that? All involved seemed to be engaged in life-affirming, family building, fan-friendly, innocent fun pursuits -- and such an unthinkable result occurs.
The game went on, eventually resulting in a big win for the Rangers. Players and other fans had reason to hope for the best regarding the father's condition (there were reports he was alert and talking, asking about his son) until they were informed after the game that he had died. And then what? How do you celebrate a victory when a child has just lost a father, a wife has lost a husband, a mother has lost a son, and countless others have lost a friend, comrade and hero.
Another game was played Friday, and even though they won decisively, the victory again was somber for the Rangers. Would it ever seem OK to really celebrate a win again?
I guess the answer came Saturday, when the Rangers were unlikely winners with a 2-out, 2-run walkoff homer by Josh. The team and fans -- and Josh, who'd been tormented by his part in the tragedy -- celebrated with the smiles and innocence of children.
I still can't wrap my mind and soul around how such a celebration seemed appropriate then and not the nights before. Many writers referenced Ecclesiastes -- For everything there is a season ... For a moment, it was time to play ball and celebrate.
I hope and pray that it was appropriate, and that family and friends of Shannon Stone -- and his wife and son -- somehow shared in the celebration. Reports had said Josh was Cooper's favorite player, and he and his dad had bought a new glove on the way to the ballpark, and their goal was go catch a ball from Josh. How does a child process that? How does a family?
Josh's response has been that he's just praying and praying. He's praying to know how and when to reach out to the family. In my mind, it seemed like maybe he already should have, and certainly that he should have said in his postgame comments he was thinking of the father and son as he rounded the bases. But his comments were just about baseball. That surprised me. But I believe him when he says he's praying hard for that family and about his response. And he expresses faith that God does have a plan and a hand in what's happening, even if we don't understand. I guess that makes sense.
But it sure messes with my mind. I want to believe that for everything there is a season, and I want to believe that I live by faith. But a Sunday school discussion today reminded me of what a worrier I am, and how worry really isn't compatible with faith. I pray and pray to know how to handle a situation -- or life in general -- but in reality, instead of truly trusting God to guide my steps (whether to work, play, serve or celebrate, etc.), I keep worrying and trying to figure out the right thing to do. And while I'm worrying and trying to figure out, I miss learning that a recently widowed friend was in town Friday night on a visit from Ohio. I don't know why I wasn't aware she was here. I would loved to have seen her. If only I kept closer contact with church friends ...
If only ...
I lack a good sense of timing -- what to do when. And it often leads to regret. Somehow, as events of this week made me even more aware of that weakness, they also reminded me that none of us can change the past. We can just choose our next action. Right now, I don't feel like I'm doing that very well. I'm stuck again in habits -- past actions. That's part of what the other topic would have addressed: "tricks of the trade" to change patterns and achieve better results. But that's for another time.
I've been praying as I've been writing, and the best I can come up with is that, for now, it's time to post and log off. And I do feel strengthened in my faith that God will show me what this is all about -- or use it to His glory anyway -- in His good time.