Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moonlight Graham understood the deal

I heard from my wandering son last night. He has been living and working in Alaska, and has survived the winter. He was in good spirits and our conversation left me feeling the same way.

In the course of our rambling dialogue we touched on Grandpadom. We debated if having children was selfish. I assured him that even if it started that way, it seldom stayed that way for long. I tried to convey the amount of sacrifice involved and he readily agreed.

I told him how often in my conversations with friends and associates the phrase, “I can’t make it, my son/daughter has a play/concert/game/camping trip /sleep over.” He jumped on that and remarked, “Dad, you could have been so many things, a mountain guide, an explorer..” He went on and on and my ego wasn’t about to interrupt him. He tried to tell me how much I gave up by having a family. He missed the point.

I reminded him of my all-time favorite scenes in the all-time greatest movie ever made, Field of Dreams. The movie has little to do with Baseball and everything to do with love, faith and sacrifice. In the movie the protagonist, Ray Kinsella, builds a baseball field where long dead baseball players get to play once again. One of the players is Archie “Moonlight” Graham who only played one half inning and never got an official at bat in the major leagues. After his half inning the season ended, and he left baseball and went on to become a doctor and help mankind for decades before his own passing.

In the pivotal scene Ray’s daughter is choking and Moonlight Graham, who is once again a young and vibrant ball player, has a choice to help her as a doctor knowing that if he does so he can never go back to being a ball player, or watch and see what happens. With only a moment’s hesitation as he weighs the consequences, he takes the step from which there is no return and helps the young girl.

Ray, realizing the sacrifice Moonlight has made feels horrible and questions him. With a wink, Moonlight assures him that the bigger tragedy would have been if he had only been able to be a doctor for five minutes.

Is it wrong to kill an innocent dog or cat? If it is wrong to cause an animal harm, then it must be right to bring those same animals some measure of happiness. Is it wrong to hurt a stranger? Then it must be right to help others. No life is wasted if it brings happiness to anyone or anything.

Last Sunday as I heard Hottie playing Wii with a young girl my daughter (Kyson's mom) was caring for, I was touched by the excitement I heard coming out of the room from both of them. I have heard it called the law of accumulation, “Everything counts.” Kindness counts. Winning or losing at tennis, basketball, bike racing, or baseball simply does not count.

Evo, RJ and The wanderer...
Nobody sits on their deathbed and wishes they had skipped a child’s soccer game so they could have done something else. As I ponder this whole Grandpa thing, I think about my own parenting experience. Rest assured I have plenty of regrets, regretting sacrifices I made isn’t on the list.

Hottie and Kyson

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

"No life is wasted if it brings happiness to anyone or anything."

The Talmud teaches us that if you save a single life it is as if you saved an entire universe.

In a modern interpretation of the Talmudic teaching, "saving" is meant to be a euphenism for so many things, for the many ways in which we touch each other's lives and make seemingly the smallest of differences.

As evidenced by the moment in which you witnessed peals of laughter between Hottie and the little girl, it isn't always so dramatic -- but it's also no less meaningful.

Thanks for a wonderful post.