As discouraged St. Louis Cardinals’ fans (following another heart-breaking loss… thank you, bullpen), my husband and I went out for a little shopping therapy. Since I’m obsessed with cooking and coming up with new recipes, we sought therapy in a huge grocery store in store across the river and through the woods – where grandmother should live.
I noticed a crazy looking tree near the river that looked as though it were bent too far toward the river. It looked as though it were dipping its branches into the water to test the temperature. Problem is, it looked as though it had gone too far and were on the brink of falling in. Somehow, it was managing to stay erect, though. Good roots.
I’m a lot like that crazy-looking tree. I go entirely too far sometimes and I know it. On a trip to a recent county fair, I came home and fired off an angry e-mail to the sponsor, the local Lion’s Club. I was ticked off, royally,because an animal on exhibition was tied to the side of his pen in such a way that he couldn’t even move his head. I looked high and low (while at the fair) for a human to ask about it but didn’t see one. If my husband hadn’t been with me,I’m half certain I would have loosened the rope.
I’m as easy going and kicked back as they come. Never complain in restaurants, don’t yell, scream or show out (unless the bullpen keeps blowing leads – then we’ll see how crazy I can truly get). But the thought of an animal or child being harmed, humiliated, or neglected makes me see red. It often makes me bend too far – like that crazy tree.
I often say, “You may not always agree with my thoughts or my methods. You may not always want to stand next to me, but you’ll always know where I stand.” I’m a petition-signing, world-saving tree hugger and I make no apologies. I may seem like and even look like a lunatic at times, but (just like the tree) my roots run deep and strong. So, changing directions or even backing up? Not going to happen.
Another way that I sometimes bend too far is that I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and truly love people. I would do anything to help someone else out and if someone has made a mistake, I’m the first one in line to forgive and forget. I honestly don’t hate anyone, but if I were going to spit a little hatred out, it’d be toward people who have no thoughts or concerns for anyone but themselves, their possessions, and their money. When they have caught one of life’s proverbial breaks and find themselves living on Easy Street – yet do absolutely nothing for anyone or anything else… I just wonder how they look at their reflection without cringing.
I love sports, but I often get annoyed with certain athletes. If you’re a baseball, basketball, or football player – you KNOW young people are watching you. How can you live with yourself if you let them down?
In 2007, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were deservedly inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “Whether we like it or not,” Ripken said, “as big leaguers, we are role models. The only question is, will it be positive or will it be negative?”
Tony Gwynn took it a little further: “There’s more than just playing the game of baseball. . . . You’re responsible, you’ve got to make good decisions and show people how things are supposed to be done.”
These were two athletes who did it right. There are countless athletes today who also do it right. How often do you hear ANYTHING bad about Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Adam Dunn, or Ken Griffey, Jr? They’re just a few who seem truly thankful for their fortune and fame and seem to care about each and every young person who happens to be watching them.
I think that, sometimes, athletes are like the rest of us. We lose sight of what truly matters. I’m certain that most people, athetes included, watch anything BUT the news on television. I’m certain they drive through anything BUT the worst neighborhoods and not all have stepped foot into a children’s hospitals. They don’t watch documentaries about global warming or read about the suffering of seals, wolves, polar bears, or panda bears.
We’d be a lot better off if everyone began to take a closer look around them and opened their eyes to the needs and sufferings of others’. We can’t save every animal, child, or sick person in the world (or so they tell me), but if we can help one, wouldn’t it be worth it?
I know I’m bending toward the water again pretty strongly here, and for all appearances look like I’ll fall in – but I urge everyone to find a cause they truly believe in and feel strongly about. Then give your time, your prayers, your money, and your energy.
Give until it feels good.