Lou Gehrig’s Days


Lou Gehrig taking a hack and doing damage.

They say that one day during warm up before a game, baseball great Lou Gehrig became so overwhelmed with his declining physical skills, because of his disease, that he threw down his first baseman’s glove and walked off the diamond – and out of baseball.

I know the feeling.  Those are what I call ALS days.  The days when it all becomes too much; the indignities, the growing struggles to simply function, the constant exhaustion, the grieving, fear, and the growing sense of helplessness.  Yesterday was one of those days. I wanted to throw down my glove, walk off the “field”,  collapse in my recliner, and quit; the temptation was there to let go and slip into exhaustion’s grasp, to be pulled into the blurry depths of uncaring, perpetual doze.

But some how, its not in me to do that.

I was reading this morning in John 14 from The Message, and this verse grabbed my attention:
you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.

I don’t understand exactly everything Jesus meant here.  But I want too see him, and I want to become alive, not internally dying.  I don’t really know what it means to be absolutely know that Jesus is in the Father, I am in him, and he is in me.  But it sounds like a confidence builder.  The kind of confidence that doesn’t fear failure; the kind of confidence that allows the Lou Gehrigs of baseball to take the big hacks at the plate, trying to do damage, not satisfied with just making contact, even though it means increasing the chance of striking out.  A strike out won’t matter because confidence says there will be another at bat, and the big hit will be there.

So if I am in Jesus, he is in me, and by implication, the Father is in me and I’m in the Father, that has to be a pretty powerful deal, even if I don’t completely understand it.  But it seems to me that because of that I should be able to keep taking my hacks, not giving in, even if in baseball speak I’m “playing hurt”.

As I was thinking about this today, a different metaphor emerged.  Like Peter, I have been asked by Jesus to step out of the boat and walk on the storm driven waves.  The difference is, I have to leave the boat behind.  And walking on big rollers and white caps is a hell of a lot of work, not too mention pretty frightening.  About every second or third step I find myself up to my eyeballs in a wave.  And every time Jesus grabs me and pulls me back up.  The wind keeps blowing stronger, the waves get steeper, the troughs that much deeper the further on I go.  Every time I sink it’s that much harder to keep going, and I begin to doubt I can get to where ever we are going.  So I gather it together, remind myself to stay focused on Jesus, and take another step.

But being certain that I am in Jesus, and he is in me changes that perception some.  It means confidence that I will do this, I will get there, because Jesus and I are integral to each other – I am laboring up the battering waves, fighting the wind with him, and he’s battling with me.

The reason it isn’t in me to quit is because Jesus is in me, and I am in him.

There will be more Lou Gehrig days to come, and they may come more often.  But I know that I am going to keep on taking my hacks, I am not afraid I will give up, because Jesus is in me and I am in him.  And because he is alive and in me, I will remain alive inwardly as well.

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3 thoughts on “Lou Gehrig’s Days

  1. Thanks Tom. Just like Lou, you continue to inspire many through your writing.

    “What are you going to do? Admit to yourself that the pitchers have you on the point of surrender? You can’t do that. You must make yourself think that the pitchers are just as good as they always have been or just as bad.” — L.G.

  2. Buddy, we all have good days and bad days. It’s just that, thanks to ALS, your “bad days” can suck a lot more than mine. When it happens, please allow us to buoy you up. Just as you buoy us with messages like this one.

    God bless, Brother

  3. Thanks, Tom; for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. You are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others. Keep on ‘keeping on’ and getting up everyday! I can’t imagine how difficult it must be on those Lou Gehrig days, but I know Who holds your hand every day and particularly on these days..Blessings to you, Virginia and the girls, Evelyn

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