There for both the Home Run and the Strikeout - Day 14 of the 30 Days of Thankfulness
In the spring of 2009, I was wrapping up my four-year college baseball career at the University of North Dakota. We were at Northern Iowa University, playing the final games of my baseball career. After the game on Saturday, the parents came down to where all of the players were packing up the gear before loading the bus.
My parents were there like they always were. As I was putting away my gear for the second-to-last time, they knew that my mind was elsewhere. So they asked me about it. I opened up about all of the changes that were happening.
I was one month away from marrying Rachel. Rachel and I had been talking to insurance agents about getting our own insurance plans. We were looking for an apartment to rent for the summer, and then one for the final semester of our time at UND in the fall. Baseball, even though that was the focus of the weekend, was pretty near the bottom of my concern at the moment.
My parents listened as they always did. They also understood all of the emotions that were running through my head. They were excited for Rachel and me to get married. They loved Rachel from the very beginning and were eager to welcome her to the family.
Standing under those bleachers, all of the anxiety I was feeling about the big life changes that were coming down the road started to subside. My parents reassured me that things were going to be ok.
I am so thankful for that interaction with my parents but that is one of a long line of times when they were present for me. In fact, they were and continue to be present for nearly all of the big and small moments of my life.
When I was a young baseball player, it was my parents that were driving me to Red Willow for tournaments a few weekends per year. It was also my parents that were driving me 60 miles to play in summer baseball leagues when I was 11 since our town didn’t have competitive baseball.
My parents also encouraged, paid for, and then traveled with me as I played on an all-star team from North Dakota in Cooperstown, NY.
As I grew older, the travel increased but their dedication to supporting me (and not much later my brother) continued to grow. There were some trips when they were the only parents in the stands for early morning games hours away from home.
It wasn’t only baseball either. They traveled to the state Science Olympiad ceremonies when I was in junior high and my dad chaperoned the trip we took to the National Science Olympiad tournament in Delaware. They were in the room when my debate partner and I won a state debate title.
During my college baseball years, even though my mom wasn’t always able to go, my dad would often travel to each weekend series. Whether I was on the field or not never mattered to them. At their core they are supporters and they made sure that Reid and I knew that they were there for us.
Even today, they are still there for the big moments and the small ones. They are not just present, they are attentive. They see needs and they meet them. They see opportunities to love and they act.
Through their presence in my life, I have learned so much about who God is. God is present. God listens. When the good things in life happen, God is there celebrating with you. When the bad times come, God is there, providing peace and comfort.
I have learned and continue to learn so much from my parents. My faith has been strengthened because of their faith. Their presence in all of the moments continues to make an impact. I only hope that one day my kids will also see a little glimpse of Jesus through my life the way I have experienced love and presence through theirs.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
- Philippians 2:3-4
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