October 25th, 2016

Curve Balls

By G. E. Shuman
This one comes from the heart. It is personal, and will still seem a bit vague. That is intentional, and is an effort at privacy.

The thing isÉas the old saying goes, at times, life really can throw you a curve ball. That analogy is of a ball coming at you that you cannot avoid, and of one that is impossible to hit with your bat. It is one of the unexpected, and of the very ‘negatively’ unexpected. That said, life really can throw you a curve ball once in a while. Days pass, things go along very much as expected, right up until the time that the ‘unthinkable, unexpected’ occurs. And, those things do occur, to all of us. “Been there, done that” right?

The personal, and hopefully vague part of this, today, is that the ‘unthinkable, unexpected’ has recently occurred for my extended family. Tragedy has struck, once again, as it seems to do in every family, more often than any of us would ever be prepared for. The reason I am sharing even this much is to let you know that it is not just you, when such things happen to you. Things happen, bad things, to all of us. Life is hard. There is no way to get around that.Ę Personalities chafe against each other, causing unnecessary stress and hurt feelings. Things like too much or too little money or time affect decisions and actions, sometimes in very negative ways. And then those big, unthinkable things just jump out and hit us, once in a while, like that unexpected curve ball.

So, what do we do? How shall we then live? Do we keep going, or give up? Do we soldier on, or do we angrily throw that cursed, ineffectual, curve-ball-missing bat as far and as fast as we can, without thought of where it lands, or who it hurts? Also, and probably most importantly, what do we believe, and who do we really believe in?

So far, the words of this column have been less than uplifting, and I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading them, right now.Ę No, I wouldn’t blame you at all. But, it seems that you are still here. You are still reading. Maybe that is because you have not only been where I am now, but might be there right now. This day, for you, might be one in which you have just been thrown that big, nasty, unexpected curve ball. If so, I wish you would read on. This one will be short.

My all time, favorite, most cherished poem is one called Desiderata. I have discussed that poem here before. The word desiderata is Latin for ‘desired things’, and the poem was written in 1927 by the American writer, Max Ehrmann. The poem was largely unknown in the author’s lifetime, but became more widely known after its use in a devotional, and after spoken-word recordings in the early 1970s. If you have never read Desiderata, I wish you would google it and do so. It has been, and continues to be a very real comfort to me.

The poem, and this column, ends with: “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

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