I watched a fifteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy hit a baseball. It was something else. His father pitched full speed from the mound, just like a major-leaguer. The boy held the bat with unsteady hands.
The kid smacked it so hard it made the fence. His mother cheered in the bleachers. So did I.
The fifteen-year-old didn’t even run. He started to cry. So did his daddy. They held each other in the batter’s box for awhile.
“You don’t understand,” said his mother. “They’ve been working on just HOLDING a bat for years. He NEVER gets a hit.”
He did today.
Tanya—I meet her in the Walmart. She has six children with her. The oldest is pushing the cart. Two are in the basket. Three follow.
These are not her biological children.
Tanya’s been fostering for a long time. She used to do it with her husband—he died several years ago.
Her husband had been raised in the foster system. He had been passionate about fostering.
“We used to spend every dime we made on these kids,” she says. “My husband would say, ‘If you only knew how hard it is growing up feeling like nobody wants you. I know what it’s like.’”
After his death, she carried on his tradition. And even though she’s unmarried, she welcomes new kids by the handful.
Yolanda. She is from Ecuador. She was a victim of human-trafficking. She was saved. Since then, she’s made a new life for herself. She is about to become a certified personal fitness trainer.
As part of her rehabilitation, she started spending time in gyms. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to make it her profession.
“I LOVE working out,” says Yolanda. “I take out all my angry thoughts on these machines.”
Yolanda has a boyfriend. They just got engaged last month. He is from Mexico. He is a Pentecostal preacher.
“I’m always believing,” she says. “Even when I was prisoner, you know, without hope, I never stop making prayers to El Señor to ‘please, save me.’”
She can bench press three of me.
Anyway, you probably have a television in your home. I do.
And maybe you’re like me. Maybe you wake up in the mornings and turn it on. Maybe you flip channels. Maybe you see talking heads in business suits.
The same ones who repeat the same headlines. They roll footage that will sour a healthy stomach. They talk so loud their faces turn red.
They talk about tragedies, plane crashes, controversies, murders. And they talk about the same villains until they’ve worn out the names.
And if you ask me, it’s a shame.
Because if the suits who pretend to be journalists could only shake hands with a widowed foster mother, or get one firm hug from Yolanda.
Or if they could watch watch a fifteen-year-old boy with CP hit home runs in a ballpark, I believe they would change the way they see this world.
This life is not all bullets and adulterous scandals. It’s more. It is gentle. It’s so sweet it’ll make your chest hurt. So happy it will break your heart. It’s breathtaking. It’s big. It’s profound. It’s wild. It’s poetic. It’s simple. It is good.
And it’s a lot bigger than a TV.
Judy Kate - November 7, 2018 10:08 am
Laurie A Wasilewski - November 7, 2018 11:08 am
Amen, Sean!!!! So well put and so right.
Debbie Taylor - November 7, 2018 11:12 am
Thank you for this beautiful perspective on humanity. It is so needed in our world today.
Cynthia Morgan - November 7, 2018 11:30 am
I have no tv. I have chosen to focus on the positive in our world. Raising a wheelchair using handicapped child, I saw our wonderfully good world in action, everyday! People came out of the woodwork to encourage and support her, and me too! The world’s outlook is that having a handicapped child would be the worst thing that could happen. It’s not! It’s the best. The tough things we face in life make us richer, stronger people and show us the goodness in the world. Thank you for your post, pointing out how difficulties can bring us to better places!
Naomi - November 7, 2018 11:41 am
Sean, some of these newscasters (“talking heads”) have handicapped children, children and children with serious health problems and some of the newscasters themselves have serious health problems. One of our local newscasters recently had a stroke and died while she was boarding a plane in Atlanta. Although I don’t always agree with what they say, they get up early, stay up late, leave their children in someone else’s care, go to work when they themselves are sick. They turn up at murder scenes, car wrecks, fires and personally experience horrific scenes. Some of them even start crying when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Sandi in FL. - November 7, 2018 2:43 pm
Very well-stated, Naomi.
Norma Norton - November 7, 2018 12:07 pm
Sean- Everyone I read- I think it is the VERY best. Thank you for making my days brighter
BJean - November 7, 2018 12:13 pm
Patricia Bice - November 7, 2018 12:39 pm
Lucretia - November 7, 2018 12:45 pm
Susan Swiderski - November 7, 2018 1:08 pm
Keep reminding us, dear man. Thank you.
MermaidGrammy - November 7, 2018 1:27 pm
The reason we see “talking heads” on tv and not so many journalists is because that’s what WE demanded. We don’t want journalism. We quit buying newspapers because they’re not entertaining us. We want excitement and as much gore and terror in our living rooms as possible. There are journalists. There are reporters getting their heads chopped off trying to get the truth told. Even the talking heads are human beings with troubles and sadness. They have sick parents, children, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers; bills to pay just like the rest of we humans. But their job is to try to tell us what’s going on even when we don’t want to hear it. Don’t be so hard on them.
Sandi in FL. - November 7, 2018 2:42 pm
I agree with your comments about newscasters. They are merely doing their jobs and reporting what they’re told to report.
Jo Ann - November 7, 2018 1:31 pm
And especially today, life is a lot bigger than any & all politics. Thanks again, Sean.
Fran Pearce - November 7, 2018 1:32 pm
I decided years ago to look for God’s blessings each day! I think you do too Sean!!!! I personally don’t want to miss one❤️
Chuck Gerlach - November 7, 2018 1:36 pm
Like so much of what has occurred in the US over the last 70 years, it’s all about the MONEY!! Good News, uplifting stories, great deeds, don’t “sell”. The “news” networks (all of them) are NOT about providing “news” they are about making money, and the selling of fear, war, rape, murder, crime is far more profitable — because, apparently, that is what consumers must want!!
Donna - November 7, 2018 2:05 pm
Oh, boy, do we need this on the day after elections…your words are so true, Sean. Keep writing and showing us hopeful, good people doing kind things.
Thank you again and again.
Brenda - November 7, 2018 3:13 pm
I’d much rather read your blog than watch tv. Thank you
Leslie - November 7, 2018 3:23 pm
Judy - November 7, 2018 3:23 pm
Amen! and Thank you!
Edna B. - November 7, 2018 4:20 pm
Very well said, my friend. I love how you see all this goodness in folks. Thank you for this beautiful story. I keep forgetting to tell you, but I love your little drawings at the beginning of your post. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.
Donna - November 7, 2018 4:40 pm
THANK YOU Sean.
Shelton Armour - November 7, 2018 4:44 pm
Thanks for the reminders. The florid-faced talking heads are why I gave up watching the news. I read the paper and choose what I want to read. There’s some good news in there, you just gotta look for it.
Patricia Gibson - November 7, 2018 4:59 pm
I love you and so appreciate your view of the world!
Pat - November 7, 2018 8:44 pm
Jean - November 7, 2018 9:53 pm
Amen! Preach on Brother Sean!
Lisa - November 8, 2018 8:09 pm
And now it is on our phones. I got a notification first thing this morning, “Good morning! 12 dead in shooting…” You know the rest. I’m thankful there is still a writer that will focus on what is good in this world. Thank you Sean.
Kathy Rives - December 29, 2018 6:00 pm
Amen!! There used to be 3 , 30 minute nightly news programs —— now it is 24/7. UGH! There also used to be a daily dose of optimism by the name of Paul Harvey. My Mama loved him.. I did too. I told you when I met you that you are my Paul Harvey, Erma Bombeck & Lewis Grizzard rolled into one!!? You are such a bright light in this darkening world. I wish you could have a daily spot in broadcasting like Paul Harvey. I think the talking heads would be surprised at your meteoric success. Until then, I’ll just keep loving you & sharing the heck out of your columns??
Barbara Bray - December 29, 2018 11:45 pm
You are those words in your last paragraph and your observations are bigger than t.v. to me , Sean…just thought you would like to know.