by Terry Sterrenberg
I used to play baseball as a kid both at the neighborhood diamond and also little league. Although I truly love the game I really wasn’t very good so when I did something unusual like catch a long fly ball to right field I remember it. I always tried really hard but often failed. One time in a scrub game at the neighborhood ball field I was in right field and some kid I didn’t know very well hit a long fly that I had to run for and I remember the surprise and a little bewilderment when I caught up to the ball reached out as far as I could and watched the ball settle in the tip of my baseball mitt. “Wow”, I said to myself, “That was amazing”. No sooner had I caught the ball than I started thinking about the boy who had hit it. “He really hit that thing. He must be feeling awful that I caught it” and I started feeling awful that I had taken away what may have been a Home Run for him. I realized this kid was somewhat of a bully and I wondered what his reaction would be. But then I realized there was not much he could do. I caught the ball. Still I did not know if I should feel good or bad. Catching the ball is the point of the game is it not? Baseball has rules and if I catch the ball the batter is out.
Another time I was practicing catching popups with a friend. He would throw the ball way up in the air and I would run under the ball and catch it. Except on this occasion I missed the ball. In fact I kept missing the ball. My friend threw the ball high into the air and every time I ran under it. Stood waiting to catch it and the ball landed next to me on the ground. After about the sixth or seventh time my friend could not contain himself and burst out in laughter and I must admit the scene seemed really surreal. He must have thrown the ball into the air fifteen or twenty times and each each I would run over to it, attempt a basket catch with my mitt, and hear the ball plop down beside me a the ground. Over and over we practiced and I did not catch even one. I could not believe it and we both were rolling on the ground in laughter.
I realized that doing what I think is the right thing over and over doesn’t help me catch the ball. I need to Reset. And do “It” differently. I have done this many times in my life. I’m afraid I need more than a “reset” right now. What has happened in the last 6 or seven years in this country seems bizarre and our society is suffering and crumbling.
Recently I read and recommend an article entitled “Why is everyone So Rude right now” from Time magazine. Covid has given us more than sickness. As a nation I believe we have become emotionally vulnerable. To say that covid’s emotional effect on the country along with the political atmosphere continues to create chaos and gross distrust is an understatement. One third of the nation does not believe that Joe Biden is the rightful president of the U.S. Anti-vaxxers believe that the vaccinations for life threatening illnesses are a government conspiracy. Climate change is bringing fire, water, and wind everywhere. People being mad at life becomes irritability, rudeness, and indifference. Religious fanatics believe we are in the last days (daze) so none of this matters. A group of people representing only 21% of the nation is controlling congress and believe they are saving the country by making it hard for people to vote. I keep saying it is time for a RESET, not knowing what that means.
I’m not one of those who believe that a reset means violent revolution. CHANGE is all around us. Our world is literally not the same day to day which begs the question “What IS Important?” Many of the old descriptors used in the past to describe our social and political life aren”t accurate any more and when we use them we are talking into empty space. They do not land anywhere or they land in a space that gives them new meaning. Not just the words of our political party (Republican, Democrat, liberal, and conservative, but also words and phrases like “rich” and “poor”, “entitled”, “work”, “make a living”, “human right”, “freedom”, “truth”, and “justice” “decency” “right and wrong”, etc
I say we need to “reset”, but it seems we have already been reset and the malaise and tension we feel is merely part of trying to catch up. I have never really perceived myself as someone trying to “catch up” although it has probably been true for most of my life. I guess all learning and new experience of the world is a form of “catching up”. And then there is always the question “Catching up to what”?
Looking back on my life I do see a few times I’ve made great catches but at this time rolling on the ground in laughter may be more gracious and appropriate.