I stepped up to the plate with all of the confidence of hitting it out of the park. I knew it was going to be a home run. I squinted up at the scoreboard, and it was a tied game. This was it. If I could pull this off, I would win this game. And I was going to win this game; I knew it with every fiber of my being.
The first pitch was a fastball. I wasn’t prepared for it. The ball whizzed by me so fast I hardly saw it coming. I wasn’t even in the right stance. It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right. I argued with the ref and got in his face. Is he blind? How can he not realize that I wasn’t ready for that pitch? How can he let that to happen? How can he not stop it? I wanted to stomp off the field and stop playing. But, I couldn’t.
The next couple of pitches were weak. They were low and to the outside. I started to gain some of my confidence and cockiness back. Wouldn’t you know it that just when I was starting to feel as if I was going once again to hit it over the fence I was thrown a freaking curve ball? Seriously ?! A CURVE BALL! Who throws a CURVE BALL?! I was so frustrated I threw the bat into the air and watched as each of my children took a base.
They stood out there on second and third, looking at me with hope and fear. That curve ball had thrown us all for a loop. We had hoped for forever, but circumstances, immaturity, life and things that were thrown as significant obstacles that could not be overcome. No amount of training camp had taught me how to hit a ball like that. No amount of training had taught me how to recover from a failure like that.
I stared at my children across the expanse of green field, standing on those bases, and knew that this home run was for them. I was going to bring them home and follow them in and protect them and steer them to safety. I had a role. I pulled the bat over my shoulder and stared down the pitcher.
He was fast. He was smooth. He thought he had me beat. He threw a slider and I missed. And it was a strike. And, although I was out, I still won. I won because being out in this game was the best thing that has ever happened to me. As the umpire called me out, my kids ran from the infield into my open arms, the freedom that engulfed me was astounding.
I was free. I was free to pursue, peruse and just be. I no longer had to worry or wonder. I did not have to tip toe around the issues or be quiet or be careful or hide in shame of the monumental mistake that I had made. And, yes, it was a mistake. A mistake that I wish I could erase, but life doesn’t work that way. Life is about living and learning, and I lived and learned.
I learned that I could go up to bat and that I can strike out three times and STILL not be out. I learned that not everything has to count in life. I learned that sometimes it’s okay just to be by yourself and heal and get your life in order and those that love you will not only understand but will be there when you are ready to come back out in the open. I learned who to trust. I learned how to forgive old wounds, and I also learned that I have grown a tremendous amount in the past 8 years.
So, if nothing else, remember this…youare never out no matter how many times you strike out.