Gratitude. Baseball. Generosity.

This week in Sojourn we’ve been talking about gratitude and generosity. As I was sitting out on my porch soaking in the vitamin D and the sunshine (yes, soaking it in to last through the long, cold Minnesota winter) my mind wandered through my memories. And it seemed to sit right on a not so pleasant memory. One I’d just as soon forget. But one that still teaches me to be generous with my gratitude.

My husband was coaching baseball. The year before his team had won the championship. This year, well, it wasn’t looking so good. At the beginning of the year the parents were so generous with their gratitude. But as the season progressed and the record tipped, something happened. The generosity turned to muttering. The gratitude turned to bitterness. As I sat in the middle of the parents I heard comments that made my skin crawl. I kept thinking “Surely they don’t realize the coach’s wife is in their midst.”  I sat and thought about how my husband would drive 35 miles home from work to coach their sons and then turn around and drive back to work at times. I thought about the hours he spent on the phone calling parents, on the computer emailing and making line-ups, on the practice fields and the game fields. I thought about how he encouraged each player and tried to pull out the best in each one and made each player feel valuable.  But that didn’t seem to matter. All that mattered was one thing, winning.

I couldn’t believe what some of these parents were teaching their kids. Their actions, their comments, their attitudes.  My heart was breaking for these parents and these kids who were so lost in this silly season that no one would really ever remember and yet the seeds they were sowing into their kid’s lives would be there FOREVER. Seeds of ingratitude. Seeds of selfishness. Seeds of discontent. Seeds of disrespect. Seeds of dishonor.

It was a sad season. Not because we lost (actually we started winning at the end and it turned out not so bad). But because the opportunity to build character in these young men was lost as parents were unable to be grateful for the things that really mattered.

It made me think about life in general. When I complain, I am ungrateful. When I complain, someone suffers because of my ingratitude. Is that what I want my life to look like? Is that what I want my kids to see?

Generosity. Gratitude. It’s really a cycle. The more generous I am, the more grateful I am. The more grateful I am, the more generous I am.

A life of gratitude on my faith journey.  That is what I want.

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