Forty years is a long time. For some, it’s a lifetime. For others (like me), it is extra time that we weren’t suppose to have except for a divine intervention.
This July marks an anniversary of a chance meeting of one of my dearest and closest friends, who not only changed my life but saved it as well. Lou, a Catholic priest, saved me from drowning in a pool forty years ago. If not for that moment, I would not have had the chance to live out my dream, and become a major league umpire. If it was not for that moment, I would not have had the chance to meet the people in my life that helped shape my life. If not for that moment, I would not have met my life partner, or have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people that I have met on this journey called ‘life’. If not for that moment, I would not have met my ‘go to’ guy.
Lou was that divine intervention. He didn’t just give me these extra forty years to live out my dreams, but he became my ‘go to’ guy. He was the one that instilled into me that I should never lose my faith in the God that I prayed to. He was the shoulder to lean on when I needed a shoulder. He was the one that I turned to, when I needed someone to listen to my troubles. He was, in all accounts, the one who never wavered from being the person I needed in my life at all times.
On June 26th, I lost my ‘go to guy’. Lou lost his battle with cancer, but selfishly I could only feel how lost I was without him. I, along with so many others whose lives he touched, sat vigil at his bedside. We were there to comfort him, just as he was for us so many times in his life. When, the God he served so faithfully called him to His side, I know that he was up there already helping others. He never put himself first. He was concerned not about his own well-being, but only that of others. He was, for that matter, the ‘go to’ guy for so many of the people whose lives he touched along the way.
Lou gave me many gifts over these last forty years. However, he gave me one gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life. He waited for me to say good-bye…he waited for me so I could say thank-you to my ‘go to’ guy.
Thanks for reading and remember,
Never Strike Out!