08 Nov What If All We Have is Right Now?
I sighed as I slumped into my seat. I was late, and I felt terrible. My friend showed me the video of Audrey singing. I had missed the performance by thirty seconds. In the time it took me to parallel park the car, I had missed it. So I sat next to my friend and settled in to watch the rest of the game. In the wake of the rained out celebrity softball tournament, we all crammed together in a muggy gym to watch the celebrities play wiffle ball instead. Every other at-bat or so, a small child with cancer (or recently freed from cancer) approached home plate. The pitcher lobbed the ball. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. You’re not out. Another pitch…until, finally, WHACK, and then round and round the bases they’d go.
Tami and I huddled together there in the midst of all that loud cheering and children in wheelchairs and children with hair like little spriggles, just beginning to grow back, and children who ran for siblings they’d lost, and we chatted and caught up on our lives. We talked about Halloween, and I showed her a jacket online I knew she would love. We talked about our kids and how fast they were growing up. Her two littlest girls ate m&m’s and played on her phone and asked if it was time to go home yet. The game wore on, and we were oblivious.
Then Aidyn came up to bat. I heard it before I saw him. The crowd erupted in applause and cheering, and I looked up to see this little boy with curly blonde hair, much like my own boy’s, running around the bases. He wore tennis shoes, but one had a lift on it of about six inches. A pouch filled with yellow liquid hung from his side and swung as he ran. He was gangly and lopsided, but he rounded each base with gusto!
And for just a second I stopped.
I thought about his mother and how she must be watching him right now, maybe with a tear in her eye, this little boy of hers who has this right now. I didn’t miss it, but I almost did. I’m up on my feet with everyone else and I’m clapping and smiling and pumping my fists. I don’t know this boy, but I know that right now is a proud moment for him. Right now, his parents are smiling. And right now, despite all odds, he’s running the bases at a wiffle ball game. Right now, he’s an all-star, and every single person in this gym is rooting for him. For a second, time stood still. I don’t know all the details of the diagnosis that brought him to this place, and I can’t predict his future. His prognosis is a mystery known only by God. And it doesn’t even matter because right now he’s hitting a wiffle ball and running (He’s running!) and people are cheering and clapping, and I am too. We’re on the same team, and I’m clapping till my hands hurt.
As I was driving home, the irony of this day was not lost on me. I wasn’t late just because of the parallel parking. I was late because I went to the gym and took my daughter to dance and came home and changed clothes–twice. I was late because I stopped to get gas and because I replied to a text. I thought I was driving to Georgia Tech to see somebody sing the National Anthem. I wasn’t. I was driving to see somebody’s right now. Because there’s people whose lives are different than mine, who can’t take off an hour to go to the gym, who may never get to drive their daughters to dance class, who find themselves on their knees more often than they find themselves on their cell phone and in the space of that afternoon we joined together to raise awareness and money for a cure that may never come.
Because all we have is right now.