Tuesday, April 24, 2018


When I penned the following entry, on May 30, 2007, both of my parents were still alive. With their passings, I have found out, like many of you, what it is like to lose a loved one. I know much better what it means than when this was written.

I was there the first time and so was Ben. In 1996, I was the assistant coach and Ben Johnson a freshman substitute during Friendship Christian School's initial trip to the Tennessee high school baseball state tournament. We thought we had a great shot at winning the Single A crown but we went out in two games. Last Friday, Friendship was once again in the state tourney but Ben and I were finishing up the year as teachers/coaches at Westbury Christian School in Houston. Ben was getting updates via cell phone as the Commanders took on Jackson Christian School in the championship game on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Ironically, the same schools with the same two coaches and many of the same young men battled it out for the state football crown back in December. Last fall, Jackson Christian prevailed by a 19-13 margin. On the diamond, the tables were turned as Friendship took the title, 13-3. My only real connection remaining with the program is Coach John McNeal, my six year coaching partner. But even if I wasn't particularly emotionally involved, I was thrilled on another level. Jon Miller is why.

He was only a third grader when I moved to Texas so I don't know if Jon would remember me. His parents and I worshipped together and I coached with and against his dad, Ricky. Kids grow significantly in almost a decade. Last December, Jon Miller was the quarterback for the Friendship football team and led them to a perfect 14-0 mark heading into the title game, also played on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University. On that day, Jon tied a state record he would like to forget by throwing six interceptions in the six point defeat. Even in high school, quarterbacks tend to be lightning rods for credit and blame so I know Jon took it very hard. Fairy tales aren't supposed to end that way. What a sense of redemption for Jon, who played left field defensively, to lead his team to the pinnacle in May by slamming four home runs in the tournament along with a slew of runs batted in. Can one triumph trump a heartache? Does one cancel out the other? I guess Jon could answer that better than most but at least it put an ice pack on the sting.

Mitch Albom has a new book out although I haven't read it. The author of Tuesdays With Morrie has published For One More Day, already scheduled to be a made-for-television movie later in the year. The gist of the novel is this: 

what would you do if you could spend twenty-four additional hours with a loved one who had died? 

I am sure the point is to not wait until it's too late to make peace and share our love. I got a jolt today when reading the obituaries in my hometown newspaper revealed the passing of the fathers of two childhood friends. The mortality of your friends' parents implies the mortality of your own folks. Jon Miller was granted a rare reprieve, to at least partially rectify a painful segment of his young life. In Acts 20, Paul calls together the elders from Ephesus to tell them good-bye, knowing he will see them no more this side of eternity. We don't have that luxury Paul was afforded or the Mitch Albom fantasy to have a do-over once the heart stops beating. The phone is available. If you still can, call your folks. Someone's waiting for you.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Love each other or die."
Mitch Albom

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

1 comment:


First Steve thanks for joining my followwers, very much appreciated I can assure you.

Your post I can relate to you see back in 1998 we had our first grandchild on July 4th, my husband the year before had lung cancer and made a very good recovery, he was over the moon......a granddad at last he said. 10 days later I lost my mother, my dad having died when I was three she was a fantastic mum who sacrificed much for me. She and my husband got along extremely well and I was devastated 3 days after her passing to be told he had terminal brain cancer and only had 6 months to live, well he in fact died 2 months later and it took me a long time to get over my loses. But with the grace of God and also some self help books I have bounced back. I have a positive outlook, sure I get off days....who dosen't, but I took to writing poetry of my expereiences of life which is a great comfort.

Have a lovely week.