“Each new day is a path of wonder, a different invitation.
Days are where our lives gradually become visible.” — John O’Donohue
Sam liked sports, but he loved baseball. He was that guy who could answer the trivia questions between innings on DodgerVision, no matter how esoteric. He studied baseball, scoured the box scores, read scouting reports and almanacs, and his favorite hobby was a baseball rotisserie league. The one phone call Sam made during our honeymoon was not to the office. He had to call the rotisserie league commissioner because one of “his” players was injured, and he needed to put that player on the DL (disabled list) and substitute in another player.
Annoying, but amusing.
I would not consider myself a true baseball fan. I am more of a fair weather fan, in the sense of the actual weather. I enjoy the game, especially with a Dodger dog, a cold beer and a handful of roasted peanuts, and I will happily sit through 9, 10 innings, or even more, as long as it’s not too hot, cold or rainy. I was a fan of Sam’s, and his passion for baseball was contagious. And now I cannot ever think about baseball without being reminded of Sam.
In the early days after Sam’s death, there were certain things I avoided like the plague because they were so intertwined with the memory of him and altogether too painful to confront. Curiously, baseball was not among them. Nothing enchants me more than seeing small boys in little league uniforms, not even ballerinas in pink tutus. Maybe it’s because I’m a mother of sons, but personally I believe that’s why God brought me boys. He must have known how delighted I would be to watch those little guys wearing red Angel caps, wiping their Cheetos-covered fingers on their white pants and sliding around in the dirt.
That’s a good day.
We happened to be at a Dodger game last week. Another good day. Yes, the night Clayton Kershaw pitched a no-hitter. I thoroughly enjoyed the game (including the aforementioned snacks), and I cannot help but wonder whether Sam had ever seen a no-hitter in person. I wonder, too, if he knew the name Clayton Kershaw. As it turns out, he must have; Kershaw was pitching in the minor leagues the summer before Sam died. (I looked it up.) When I find myself drawn to the morning newspaper column analyzing Kershaw’s no-hitter pitch by pitch, I recognize Sam’s continuing influence.
I imagine that the day will come when all the baseball players Sam would have known will have retired from the game, and still, there will be a part of me that enjoys the game on his behalf.
I have heard that the Amish deliberately sew mistakes into their quilts as a reminder of our human imperfections, the so-called “humility square.” Evidently, there is some debate over whether this is true, but the fact remains that a handmade quilt will include imperfections, whether intentional or not. Even that perspective, however, misses the larger picture. Hand-crafting a life requires moving beyond the language of judgment, perfection and flaws, to a place of wholeness where we are held completely. Wrapped in a warm, familiar quilt, we are – like the quilt itself – well-loved, softened, even frayed and mended by a careful hand.
One of my dear friends was pregnant with the youngest of her children when I was pregnant with the first of mine, and in fact both babies were born on the same day. “Rose” arrived in the morning and my son later in the evening. We called them the twins.
They were supposed to go to kindergarten together. And junior high. And the prom. But little Rose drowned in a family pool when she was two. I think of her every day, but with a particularly achy sadness when my son achieves a landmark she didn’t get the chance to reach, a graduation, a significant first, another birthday. Their lives are intertwined for me in a way that keeps Rose close to my heart.
The last time I saw her, Rose was leaving the park where we had shared a picnic and a song. She was skipping and holding her mother’s hand. In her square on the quilt of my life, Rose appears in profile, little arms stretched out, her pink and green dress lifting as she spins, dancing.
It is no small evidence of immortality that the people I love and who have loved me continue to weave vibrant textures into the fabric of my life, even after they are gone.
Wishing you light and strength. And the threads of love that hold us together.