Saturday, May 23, 2009

Follower

I have to start by thanking Aunt Diane for giving me a day off today. The Yikes will have a wonderful time with her all day today and I get I'm enjoying a break that will last until tomorrow afternoon.

I went to Bryn's award ceremony/ kindergarten celebration Thursday. As we parents watched them sing "First Grade" and do a little dance, you could just hear one word whispered over and over, "cute." She was indeed cute and super excited about going to first grade although she will miss her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Maurer.

Here in Arlington, Texas baseball has become worth watching again, in a big part because of an addition to the Rangers, Josh Hamilton. I had heard a little about him before, but today I finished reading his autobiography, Beyond Belief. I read about how he was a star even in Little League throwing so hard that he had to play with an older team because parents were afraid there boys would get hurt. With age, he got even better and was the number one draft pick right out of high school. However, his professional career got put on hold when his life started spinning out of control because he began using drugs, including crack. Failed drug tests led to him being suspended for longer and longer periods of time and it looked like he would never play baseball again. Finally, after a hard road Josh came to know Jesus in part due to the persistence of his grandma. That faith allowed him to get clean, get back into baseball, and now have a resurrected career with the Rangers. What's neat about Josh is he is frank about his disappointing past while at the same time giving credit to God and supportive people in his present to helping him in the present.

I'm writing about Josh because in the last chapter he talked about how people react to him. Some people are angry at him while others are proud of him. Many of these people are touched emotionally because they love someone in their lives who has fallen under the influence of drugs. It took a book about a baseball player struggling with drug addictions for me to understand people's reactions to me, a teacher, and my struggles with Jessica's journey with cancer. Just like Josh's life is not just about baseball, because of Jessica's cancer, my life is no longer just about teaching or being a father.

Because they know someone who has been influenced by cancer, people's emotional reactions to me may be similar to Josh's. Sometimes people look up to me because of the way I am living my life. They know the struggles I have been through and the problems I continue to face, and yet they see I have peace and joy. They often tell me a little about a much loved person who got cancer.

Others are angry and after reading, Josh's book I get why: they have been deeply hurt by cancer. Someone they love has or had cancer. Josh has inspired me to look past the angry exterior and look at the hurt inside. Cancer hurts. It takes away daughters from their parents, nieces from aunts and uncles, wives from husbands, friends from loved ones... Perhaps you are one of the hurting, and if so I'm sorry that you are suffering. I wish I could take your pain away.

Finally let me say, that my joy and peace are not despair and chaos because I am a follower of Jesus with lots of supporting people.

6 comments:

Amy Sossamon said...

I too have read Josh's book. He is an amazing person to overcome his struggles. I look at you the way I look at Josh. We learn so much from both of you. You are not only a follower but a leader, for us!

Anonymous said...

I almost bought the Josh Hamilton book but didn't for some reason. My son played minor league ball for 3 years so I can relate to baseball! Because of your words, I'm definitely going and getting that book this weekend! Thanks!

(Terri; I work with Mike B)

Anonymous said...

Jake,
thanks for being a teacher to those who continue to watch you. i think your connection is accurate to those of us still in pain. we miss our jess, but there is nothing that any one person can do to ease that pain. we must find our own peace and acceptance that a master plan is still at work. i'm not sure i'll ever understand that plan, but i've accepted that i have to move on. i miss the laughter and smile on jessica's face, but i get to see it in her girl's when i am near them. thanks for keeping them near to us jake...it means a lot to all of us, as do you. you are in my thoughts and prayers always.

Anonymous said...

beautifully written, thanks
Tammy Mouser

Al Rearick said...

Nice connection, man! I also haven't read the book, but I'm going to now. It'd be nice if Josh Hamilton could see this and see how his story has touched the lives of others, much in the same way that your life and the lives of Jess and your children have touched so many.

Your peace and joy, which is always evident and which you proclaim through Christ our Savior, is nothing short of inspirational. You do have lots of supporting people, including a few of us around the corner from you!

Always in my prayers,
Al

Wendy M said...

Thanks Jake - I too have lost a loved one to cancer and it does still hurt, but I have a peace as well and know that she is with Jesus and I'll see her again someday...

Wendy M