Well, the first day of our "dreaded weekend" went more smoothly than anticipated. I have a suspicion that there were oodles of prayers being lifted up for us, especially as we approached the Little League field for A.J.'s game. Brandon, A.J.'s coach, came up to me as soon as we arrived, wanted to know if I would be up for throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to AJ before the game, in memory & in celebration of Mark. What could I say? As long as Andrew was okay with it, I was game.
I stood in that dugout as that coach huddled the boys together....some knew Mark, some didn't....as he explained that AJ's dad had passed away recently, and that the team was going to dedicate the entire fall season to Mark. He also told them that Mark would not want them to be sad, but to live, be happy, and enjoy some baseball, 'cause that's what he would be doing if he were here.
I headed out to the mound, Andrew to home plate. His only instructions to me? "Make sure you throw it over the plate!" Brandon stood with me & explained to the crowd what we were doing. I haven't thrown a baseball in about a month, and I didn't want to look like either President Obama or Bush with pitiful throws. But I threw it hard, and it went across the plate. The crowd cheered, and my son & I hugged. I got to keep the ball.
The Vernon LL team has probably been playing together since they were 3, 'cause they were good. But my son went 2 for 2, had a couple of good plays at 1st base, and had an RBI. Two dear friends, Amy and Randall, showed up shortly after the game began, so AJ had a good cheering section.
A confession? I'm 48 years old. And I've never seen "The Lion King"....isn't that sad? So, to keep the day going on a positive note, the boys & I went to see it.... in 3D. A great movie, although hard to watch as Simba's dad is killed. Think it upset me more than the boys. They are so resilient, and seem to take things in stride a heck of alot easier than I do. The theatre was full, with a varying audience age from babies to grandparents.
The circle of life...it really has a deeper meaning. I tried to explain to the boys on the way home that life is but a fleeting moment compared to eternity, even when someone lives to be 100. But our spirituality was before we were born, and continues throughout eternity after we shed these clunky earthly bodies. Or as my wise 9 year old put it, "Mom, death is just another part of life."
Mark's mom emailed that his inscription for his mausoleum marker has been set. I had 14 spaces for 4 separate lines. How do you sum up a man's life in four lines, 64 spaces?
MARK H. HOWELL
OCT. 25, 1955
JULY 30, 2011
That fourth line? His most important role, the one he was most proud of (outside of being a child of God). Amazingly, it took 14 spaces, no more, no less.
Be blessed....God is good,