I have received some very nice reviews for Fathers, Sons, & Holy Ghosts: Baseball as a Spiritual Experience, including one from Dave Norman, a former Baltimore Orioles beat reporter for WBAL radio and the current webcasters for the Harrisonburg Turks of the Valley Baseball League. While it is always gratifying to receive praise from one’s peers, I was more than gratified when I received a series of tweets one morning from a lady in California. In fact, I was humbled and awed by her words.
A woman whose Twitter handle is “Kirty” contacted me to let me know that her dad had been placed in hospice and his condition was such that she wasn’t even sure that he understood anything that was said to him. He has a life-long love of baseball—he’s a Dodger fan—and Kirty reasoned that if he understood anything, it would be baseball; and so she has begun to read him baseball books. She stumbled upon mine, which she described as “beautiful” and “thought-provoking.” High compliments indeed, but she added, “Your book is bringing me lots of comfort. . . . Just wanted you to know how important it is in our lives right now.”
I was stunned, in a good way. A very good way. Every sale beyond that one sale in California is now just a small bonus. After all, how much is it worth to bring comfort to someone else? It’s worth exactly the same as when we receive it.
You could call it Luck or the Lord or whatever you choose to believe that brought Fathers, Sons, & Holy Ghosts to Kirty and her dad, but what we believe about that circumstance is not the point. That we affect others, often without even realizing it, is the point. You don’t have to write a book full of words to have an effect. Just one, well-placed word can be just as valuable. One of the most amazing things that I have learned so far is that if you’re in need of kindness, offer a kind word. If you’re in need of encouragement, be encouraging. If you’re in need of understanding, understand. Do this as much as you can, and your entire life will be a book that others may read and reference, long after you’ve written your own final chapter.