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Tag Archives: Friends
Sometimes, actually, often times I stop and think about how much we impact other people’s lives. In this case I take my mind back in time to recall, and to feel again as I felt before. To capture thoughts, memories, and feelings from a distant life I lived.
Once upon a time we persevere through our daily lives to show up at some place of work. We have our lives, our families, our schedules, our stuff. Yet, we show up and do our jobs day after day. Each of those days we interact with others. Others who are not wholly different from ourselves. Others who bring their own version of diversity to the workplace each day.
Hour upon hour, shift by shift, week by week, we allow our lives to be impacted in some way by these others while we have the same effect on them. Some we know better, beyond the layers on the outside. Some we know only by what we see. Either way, there is impact on one another.
Jobs change. Careers run in all directions. And dreams take us on countless pursuits. Then maybe the little world we knew for all of those hours, shifts, weeks, and more; where any of us could have been dinner time conversational fodder at home for any one of our post-work meals; it all changes. What doesn’t change though, is the effect we had, felt, and shared.
We came together to get a job done while pursuing our own lives. We overlapped only as we allowed. And that was good. As it should be.
Then one who was near and dear for so many hours a week. One you shared work-space with for so many weeks over so many years. One is gone. Sadly, this one left this huge, intimidating world. Saddened even more deeply by this loss, this one who left us was as much a part of our closed in, working comfortably, space that we all helped create. This one punched their ticket everyday, as we all did, working toward a common goal along side each of us.
And then it hits you; hits you hard. Sitting here wishing there was one more chance to talk, to listen, to impact, to be. That small work world that we once shared has yet smaller become. Even though that work-time and work-setting had long since disappeared, the characters from that story still had the memories and friendships to share with one another on a whim. Now we have lost this one. The cast is smaller. Our little world is smaller. The huge world is now a smaller world. Today I’m deeply saddened to know that we lost this one.
The winter season is still upon us here in New Hampshire. Yesterday’s temperatures actually made it into the 50’s here, and even though I love winter, it was a really nice day. It was a reminder that spring is nearing, a reminder to me of the renewal of the seasons that I love so much. It also gave my brain a little nudge down the steep mountain of snow that is everywhere around here still, and as my mind gained speed and momentum, I thought more of spring, and in turn, baseball. Ultimately, some 24 hours later my mind and body connected at the keyboard, and the words you read now were funneled here despite my lack of typing skills. My thoughts, converted here to words, ran in sequence, something like this.
Every once in a while I get so ingrained in the here and now that I think the scenario, or the window of time I am in, will be there again in the future. As if to say that the unfolding of events that led to the opportunity at hand would be easy enough to recreate, manipulate, earn again, or in some way come back around because they did so this time.
There are a number of times I can recall in both cases, where things never did materialize again the way that I had hoped or thought they would, and other memories that did recur more or less how I would have thought or wanted them to. I think in these terms, particularly as it relates to sports, athletic achievement, as well as team sports and in individual competition.
Instead of kicking myself for the past and, or, the things I would have, or could have, done differently, while wondering if any of it would have mattered anyway, I change gears.
I move in the direction of thankfulness, appreciation, and the savoring of the moment, big and small. The moment, in this piece, also known as, “it”. I think back to a summer not too long ago, a summer I will never forget. I could choose to remember the summer of 2007 for what didn’t happen and the pain that accompanied moments during that summer, but I choose rather to luxuriate in the memory of what was accomplished and to remember the family and friends I was so fortunate to be surrounded by during that time.
As life would have it, time never slowing for any of us, we waltz in and out of people’s lives. Time marches on and forces much bigger than ourselves apply their weight to our day-to-day lives, and we react however it is that we react. Sometimes community participation brings folks together, or it could be by choices we make, or just plain old happenstance. Either way we all get there at the same time, in the same place, and take an experience with us that may never be forgotten regardless of where paths lead each of us from that particular time and place.
So, while I will never forget the Summer of 2007 as a whole, I have already begun the fading of details that comes with the lapsing of time. Furthermore, pain and joy both have their ways of shaping the view our mind’s eye sees and the ability to see clearly all the way back to the details that were so pertinent in a different time. Regardless, I am so thankful for the people who came together that summer and experienced with me, with my family, with our team, and with our community, the pure joy sometimes found in the spaces created while drafting behind the vehicle that is a post-season run by the boys of summer. I am not talking about the 2007 Boston Red Sox and their run to another World Series Title. I speak of the 2007 Goffstown Babe Ruth 13 Year Old All-Star team. This team was near and dear to me. This team meant a lot to many of us in this community.
In the end, the results on the field that summer did not lead us to the completion of our goals. But, wow! did we have a great time?!?! What a run! The sheer joy and enjoyment of our time on the field together was only outdone by the time we all spent together doing so many things off of the field. The people who wandered in through life’s revolving door that summer, the door that dumped us all out in to the same place at the same time, from where ever it was that we had been prior, were some of the nicest, warmest, thoughtful, engaging, and committed people you could ever meet. I am so thankful to have been a part of this group of folks. The run was truly magical but the experience it created for all of us was a time that I will forever be grateful for.
I wrote in an email that I drafted the day after our collective summer of baseball had ended, “…Next year when we’re the first team in GBR history to go to the Babe Ruth World Series…”. Well that didn’t happen, and not only that, it didn’t even come close to happening the way I envisioned it might have while writing from my laptop at Allard Park on August 9th, 2007. Here’s the thing though, I am so thankful for the experience. I am thankful for the people. I am thankful for the relationships that developed. I am thankful for the opportunity to be in the position I was in. I am thankful for the renewed perspective that experience instilled in me. I am thankful for that elongated moment, thankful for “it”.
Over the years, I have written or even spoken on the topic of being grateful for the here and now; being thankful for the moment, and understanding that it may never present itself again. Live the moment, soak it in, and know it is so very special even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to this time, or any time.
From a personal standpoint I have been fortunate enough to play and/or coach in pursuit of Division titles, District titles, State titles, Regional titles, World Series berths, and even National titles. Even though I (we) won at almost all of those levels, I (we) still lost more than my fair share. Then, even more important than that, I gained perspective as I got older and as I was in more of those situations. Perspective and experience taught me to thoroughly enjoy those moments as I was going through them. I learned to step away, at least intellectually, and try to see the bigger picture, or more effectively to comprehend the significance of that moment in time and how unique it was unto itself. Such moments are more likely not to happen more than once, and no matter how young, bold, skilled, or invincible I may have felt in any moment, the likelihood of its reproduction was not good.
For the boys of summer, these years, those years, whenever “it” happens, they should be the times of our lives. Summer nights, sunny days, longer daylight, warmer temperatures, the beauty of the game and the green, symmetrically perfect canvas on which to paint the mural of our youth. Even into my 40’s (years, not temperature) the youthful exuberance that started somewhere in my childhood which still dwells within, bubbles towards outward emotion in the execution of the outstanding defensive play, the perfectly executed slide, or the ‘weightlessness’ (some people call it a blackout moment) moment when the perfect execution of mechanics all come together in the exact perfect sequence to launch the batted ball as fast, and as hard, and with as much conviction as I could muster. When these things do happen, and they do, embrace them. Understand it for what it is. Maybe it’s a brush up against perfection. Or maybe it’s the timing of all we thought could be, coming together, and eclipsing even our own wildest dreams. Maybe it’s a period of time when the right people, with similar goals, and a like-minded approach to achieving those goals, all come together so that you, so that I, can forever have the experience and memory to carry with us. Deeper into the maybe’s; perhaps “it” existed not only for the experience of the present, but more so to be called on in the future. Either way, no matter why, be present. Be engaged. Recognize the moments. Fully savor them and let them wash over you. For if you ask me, it’s better to have engaged fully with all of the senses even for a second than to wish I had been paying closer attention, after the fact.
We never do know when these moments in time will start. We certainly don’t know how long they will last. We know even less about when they will end. Then, we don’t know if they’ll ever come our way again. Don’t miss your moments. They could be years, or even seconds, but all of us experience some moments that we wish would never end. Or we wish again for those moments to return to us. Accept them for what they are, moments that pass us by, or even moments that exist around us, and once in a while we are fortunate enough to pass through them. Again, I make the point that I am thankful because “it” was.
I am thankful for friends. Friends, near and far, I am thankful for all. And, from a blog post I did a few months ago, My Friends, My Cousins, “Beginning with trips, visits, and times before they ever registered with my conscious memory, I had many friends. These friends weren’t from my neighborhood or from our church, and I wasn’t even old enough to be in school yet. Nevertheless, I had friends. And as each year passed it seemed as though I had more friends. These friends didn’t go away either, they were just always my friends (they still are), no matter how far time or distance took us from one another. These friends were, and are, my cousins.”
I remember when I was just a little boy, my late Grampy Beal and my late Aunt June were teaching me the word friend and how to spell it. I remember it like it was yesterday, F-R-I-E-N-D, friend to the end. I before E, except after C. Friend to the end is what I remember most, always have, always will, friends to the end. I was hanging around the cash register and counter area at the Good News Book Store that day. I did that on a lot of days. My Grampy owned the store, just as he did the one in Mars Hill, Maine. My Aunt June, and especially, my Aunt Meredith and Uncle Paul, worked at, and ran the store for many, many years. Anyways, I remember the day I learned the word friend, friend to the end. That same day my Grampy also used his typical technique for disposing of hornets that had flown inside. He simply hunted them out of the air and clapped them with his bare hands like most of us would with mosquitoes. At my young age, and on throughout my life, I thought, and realized he feared nothing. That day though, he just wanted to teach his grandson about the word friend.
I’m thankful for my friends. I have good friends, good people who care about matters outside of themselves. Whether we see each other often or seldom, we are friends, and I know we will be friends until the end.