Curve Ball

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kind. James 1:2

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “curve ball”, it is a pitch in baseball which curves to the right or left and is intended to confuse batters. It often works, and there have been great hitters in major league baseball over the years who were never able to hit the curve ball successfully.

It also is an expression I use as to events of life.  Just when you expect something, God throws you a curve ball and you have to react to something unexpected.  This past week is an example of a COVID curve ball to our family.

My youngest son took his family skiing out in Montana. On one of the last runs down the mountain, his wife, Lanie, fell and broke a bone in her foot. They returned to their home in Washington, DC where she went to an orthopedic doctor who took X-rays.

The doctor confirmed that she had a broken bone in her foot which needed surgery. Just putting the foot in a cast would not fix the problem.  That was Monday and surgery was scheduled for Friday.  

As part of the protocols for the surgery, the hospital required the family (Richard and three children) to be tested for COVID. 

Early on Wednesday morning I texted my son, Richard to check on things. He replied that they were getting an MRI of the ankle at that moment, and Lanie’s parents were coming to help in her recovery.  Everything lined up and looked in place. So far, so good.

When I returned to our home around 10 am, my wife was on the phone with Richard and put him on speaker phone

Lanie and their children’s tests came back negative, but Richard’s test came back positive. This was a real curve ball. If Richard was positive, he would have to quarantine himself for up to 14 days. He couldn’t help his wife who was in pain and needed surgery and she couldn’t help him. And neither of them could help their three kids. 

Richard said: “Mom, my head is spinning.  I don’t even know where to start to deal with this.”  That statement comes from a person who has an abundance of common sense and is quick to solve problems. Not this time.

Lanie’s parents had not been vaccinated yet. That meant Lanie’s parents couldn’t come, but we could because we had been vaccinated. After a small discussion, we decided that Sis (my wife) would fly to Washington to help out.  I put her on a plane in the early afternoon. Sis needed to be in DC and that was paramount.  You drop everything for someone in need if you can.

In the middle of all of that chaos, I reached out to close friends to start praying for our situation. Until you have had COVID invade your life, you don’t realize how quickly the world can turn upside down. 

I now appreciate how disruptive a positive test can be. For example, Sis couldn’t fly home because one of the questions they ask at the airport before you board a plan is “Have you been in contact with anyone who has COVID?”  If the answer is “yes”, you don’t fly.

In hindsight,  we were grateful that we had gotten our vaccinations early. We had planned to go skiing with my daughter the following week. That went out the window.  

I called the airlines to change our ski trip flights with hat in hand to see what could be done. When the representative came on, she asked how she could help.  I said: “I have a COVID problem.”  She laughed and said: “We get a lot of those”. Tickets got cancelled and changed and we collectively decided that I should stay on the ski trip with my family. .

On Wednesday night, I got a chance to talk to Sis and said: “I’ll bet they are glad you came.”  She said Lanie cried when she arrived, which actually made me tear up.  That’s a picture of gratitude 

Several people suggested Richard get a retested for COVID, because there is a 30% chance that his test was a “false” positive. He got retested as soon as he could but quarantined himself in their house in the interim. 

The next morning, he got the test results which were negative.  Just to be sure, he took a third test which came back negative on Friday morning.  Things were looking up.  Lanie’s surgery went fine, but she must stay off her leg for 12 weeks, so she will need some help for a while.  

Not all stories turn out as well as ours (except for Lanie’s broken foot), but it’s an important lesson on dealing with a curve ball in life. It is also a lesson on how we can help another in need when they cannot do it themselves. Having friends and family to rally around you is important.

In this day and time, the next generation have had a lot of curve balls thrown at them.  Lockdowns and COVID protocols have limited normal interaction with their friends. They feel isolated and lonely.

We need to rally around them and let them know that they aren’t facing life alone. Family and friends are a key to solving the curve balls of life, even if they just pray for you.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY: When your mentee gets a curve ball in life, you can come beside him and help him (or her) make good decisions.  We need one another.

WORSHIP:  More Than a Hallelujah – Amy Grant

For more information about MentorLink, go to www.mentorlink.org.

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One thought on “Curve Ball

  1. This is another good example of the value of family. No matter how old you are, you still need support from your family, either your biological family or your church family.

    Thank you Uncle Bill for sharing.

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