A Letter to My Son - Bottom of the Ninth #110

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Bottom of the 9th - A Letter to My Son

A Letter to My Son

by Tom Walters

Coach Wahl sent the Valor baseball community an e-mail this week and told us about a conversation with Jeff Bridich, the General Manager of the Colorado Rockies.  Bridich told him that they are looking for guys who want to change the culture of the game.  The Rockies are looking for team-focused, service-minded guys who love the process and have fun in the process of a long baseball season.  He said there is no shortage of selfish people in the baseball world, but the Rockies want different.  Jesus has asked us to be different as well.  In John 13:35, Jesus said, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."I sent my son Levi on an extended college visit yesterday.  This morning I found myself in the corner, my knees pulled to my chest, sucking my thumb, tugging on my ear and rocking back and forth.  Okay, perhaps it wasn't quite like that on the outside, but that's what it felt like on the inside!  I was in a funk that I couldn't seem to shake. Was my feeling sorry for myself as simple as impending change and my resistance to it?  Is it that I've always taken Levi to ball games and camps and to college campuses and this time he went with mom?  I struggled to find an answer.  How could I be sad or feeling sorry for myself in the face of such opportunity?  Is it that in the moment, I'd lost sight of Levi's opportunity and I'd become self-focused?

My friend Ian Pearson taught me much of what I know about gratitude.  Ian was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease at the age of 35, my son Levi and his youngest daughter, Alice were both 3 years old at the time.  I spent quite a bit of time with Ian, hanging out, going to functions, helping out here and there.  One spring day a couple of years into his diagnosis, I was hanging out with Ian.  We had been able to spend some quality time but I was really feeling the pressure of work and I felt like the day was slipping away from me.  I told Ian with emphasis, "I've sure enjoyed hanging with you Ian, but I have got to go to work."  Gently, in his soft voice, Ian said, "Tom, you get to go to work."  The difference in my perspective and my sense of obligation or duty and Ian's perspective of my opportunity and the privilege to work redefined gratitude for me.  Ian reminded me of the need to be grateful.

You see, gratitude is a choice.  Hunter Neelley, a local boy who recently died of cancer was grateful for cancer.  Remember his 4th grade Thanksgiving essay shortly after he was diagnosed?  I shared it in the Bottom of the 9th on November 27, 2014. Hunter chose gratitude.  Yesterday, my friend Jolie Larder told me about a conflict she's in with her sister, that she feels taken advantage of and that her situation's not fair.  She said that she resented the way her sister was treating her.  I was able to ask Jolie if she was wealthy enough to afford a resentment?  My perspective allowed me to see that this friend was lost in her anger and frustration and in how unfairly she was being treated by a family member.  Jolie chose gratitude, today she is thankful that she is able to help her sister.

Jolie's question of fairness reminded me of Shane Goss.  Shane is a friend who shows livestock at a high level.  A few years ago, Shane's wife Amy, then a newly pregnant mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  When I offered to Shane that sometimes life just doesn't seem fair, know what he said?  Shane said, "Fair is where you show a fat hog!"  Wow!  Everything in his world was upside-down and he chose not to ask God about what's fair.  I am happy to say that Amy has recovered fully and the Goss's have a beautiful baby boy, a brother to their angel in heaven.  He is so full of gratitude.

Thankfully, these reminders about gratitude have helped me to take my thumb out of my mouth, and to stand up and write my son a letter as he plans his college path.

Dear Levi,

Go investigate your future.  Go chart your path.  I couldn't be more proud of you.  You have carried yourself so well.  You are dedicated, honest, and hard working and you can do anything that you put your mind to.   It is my prayer that the next chapter takes you to the corners of your smile, to the height of your hopes and ultimately to your dream.

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." - Colossians 3:17

I love you son, Dad

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Copyright © , All rights reserved.

You may comment or correspond with Bottom of the 9th by sending an email to BottomOf9@gmail.com

Bottom of the 9th devotionals (current and previous) and other inspirations centered around the game of baseball can be found at aroundthemound.org.

Our mailing address is: