Spring has come early to Minnesota this year. This week’s temperatures reached 80 degrees for the First. Time. Ever. We even beat Phoenix’s high of 50. “Ice out” on Lake Minnetonka happened mid-week, beating all records as far back as anyone can remember. As for spring break, there is no need to go south. We already have a good start on our tans and D, the sunshine vitamin, is well on its way to replenishing our souls.
Plants I overwintered are now on my deck. My cleaned windows squeak with joy. And my porch ― always a sign that spring has come ― is ready with candleholders, tea lights and freshened cushions, for its first porch party.
The only thing missing since the state shrugged off its winter coat is that I am no longer a spectator at my sons’ baseball games. It’s not that I’m not welcome at the ball field to receive painful dents on the backs of my legs from aluminum bleachers, it’s that my boys have outgrown their boyhood.
Gone are the stretch of evenings that brought sunflower seeds, sounds of cheered-for sons, moans toward umpires, smacks of bats and scrubbing out the rust-colored stains from those crunchy-sounding slides at home plate.
I have my memories, though, like Tyler Krieger’s dad, Jeff (God rest his soul), receiving a 70-mile-an-hour retaliatory pitch in the score booth from his son on the pitcher’s mound for one too many directional shouts on how to get the ball over home plate.
Memories, pictures and trophies of Little League, Tonka teams and high school baseball are the souvenirs of that sweet time gone by. That, and friendships made with fellow cheering parents on the bench with me.
I met Kristen Ballum at one of those games. She cheered for everyone’s sons on the team – in unique bleacher wear.
Every summer her parents came from Florida and Lois and Ernie Peterson joined in our cheers. I can still hear Ernie’s “Come, babe,” every time my middle son, Joe, went up to bat.
Ernie no longer comes to Minnesota. He is very sick now. Fighting for each breath from compromised lungs.
Kristen wrote me a story last week. It’s a BlessBack-in-action story that deserves an audience.
BlessBack in action … There is something sweetly sacred when given the opportunity to watch it occur to a loved one. My father is at now at end-stage; he is walking through with well-worn faith, truth and focused energy on making memories. My parents raised my brother and I to SEE, pray and respond to other’s needs quietly.
A few weeks ago, a man my dad had taken under his wing back in the late 1960s flew a few thousand miles to be with my dad for the day. Dad had brought him into the business, taught him to sail and just loved on that young family.
Their day-long conversations were full of hope, truth, strength, thank-yous and laughter. When the time came for goodbyes, this man laid his hands on my dad and prayed blessing over him. The air changed, the sounds of life quieted, and an eternal bond between them became remarkably evident.
When blessing happens, sometimes it’s best to just look up and breathe it in. Then later – to breathe it gently out upon others.
I don’t know the young man who thanked Ernie, but I have no doubt he will never regret the time and money he spent to visit Ernie and to thank him for being a life influencer.
I know this because I live with regrets.
I’m not alone. A new book released this week, The Things You Would Have Said, by Jackie Hooper of Portland, Oregon is about regrets. It is based on her Web site, www.wouldhavesaid.com. It’s a place that lets people say what they wish they would have said to people had they taken the time or roused up the courage to do so.
In a couple of chapters of BlessBack: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life, I offer ways to give a BlessBack when the person you loved has passed away and I offer suggestions to those us who regret not thanking someone before it was too late.
One way to you might say “thanks for the memories” is to leave a tribute on BlessBack’s Facebook Fan page. It’s a place designed for you to, as the song goes, “Say what you need to say.”
Go change your world, as only you can.
Until next time.
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