No matter how happy and successful you become, there still hangs above you the Damocletian sword of grief, waiting to fall. It came for me at 9:07 this morning, when my friend Paul Falcone called to tell me our beloved softball coach, friend and surrogate father, Chuck Dima had just passed away.
Chuck was my first coach, when I began playing 12 years ago. He founded our league about 35 years ago, and served ever since, coaching, mentoring, and creating a safe space for many young players. He was so much more to me than a coach. Chuck taught me about making a life, and making a difference. I’ve spent most of the morning in tears. But that's a small price to pay for 12 years of having the honor to love a man so rare. And as my friend Craig Bradley says, we need to keep our heart right, even when it is wounded.
All our lives will be touched by pain and sorrow at some point. Like it or not, no one escapes without the bitter tears of anguish. None of us like this, and we try different avenues to escape it, looking for that unceasing happiness that is always just out of reach. You can try drugs, alcohol, or other acting out behaviors, but alas, there is no escaping adversity. Life is a journey of ups and downs, exhilarating highs, and heartbreaking lows.
And that is the delicate dance of prosperity…
As a child you want nothing better than to be grown up. As an adult, you long for the lost bliss of childhood. The poor chafe under the yoke of poverty. The wealthy fear losing their riches. Sometimes we think so much about what we want, we forget to appreciate what we have. I hope you’ll take a moment and reflect on the people and other blessings you have in your life right now. And for those that are no longer with you on this existence, it’s okay to feel the sadness. But celebrate the joy as well.
Many seek religion or intellectual philosophy to protect them against pain. Sadly even these cannot inoculate you from the intrusion of heartache. But what we can do is understand the nature of it. Pain, sorrow, and other adversities can be corrective and remedial. And they are not permanent, simply states we go through and grow through.
Could we really appreciate the sunshine if not for the rain? And would we ever welcome the spectacular thunderstorm without experiences the sun?
Please: Don’t be so afraid to die that you forget to live.
I have a softball tournament coming up this weekend in Dallas. And Coach, I’m going to hit one out for you!