Lasting

“Great lovers have made great sacrifices.” Louis Auchincloss, a 20th-century American novelist. Sacrifices?

Last Friday, in a post-last pro match of his life interview, Roger Federer was being celebrated. When he responded about his family, he expressed appreciation that his wife Mirka allowed him to play tennis. 

Imagine a spouse traveling with two boys and two girls in her charge, all over the world, for years, and accepting his time away to improve his world-renowned tennis game. No small task, even with fine accommodations and help.

I think in most marriages that last for decades, there is much heartache. But, on balance, great love, and sacrifice. Without the hand of God, our 45-year marriage may have lasted as long as my first, 12 months.

Thinking

“Television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information that surround us in our daily lives are also artificial props. They can give us the impression that our minds are active, because we are required to react to stimuli from the outside. But the power of those external stimuli to keep us going is limited. They are like drugs. We grow used to them, and we continuously need more and more of them. Eventually, they have little or no effect. Then, if we lack resources within ourselves, we cease to grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. And when we cease to grow, we begin to die.” Mortimer J. Adler, a 20th-century American author, and philosopher. 

He predated binging on a serial, streaming video. In a sense, he saw it coming. He knew us sports fans are often glued to the tube for hours. He didn’t know how true to life the current, state-of-the-art, high definition, large screen would become. Enticing you say? Sure.

What I have learned of late suggests to me your thinking/cognition benefits from active mental processes like writing and reading, not passive ones. My reading also suggests that although we shouldn’t remain seated a lot, if we are, the time is best spent with active mental processes.

Our minds are too precious to waste. Don’t you think?

Uplift

“That’s the great thing about literature — it makes the world less lonely.” Robert Stone, the late Pulitzer Prize finalist. 

Let’s face it. Sometimes each one of us gets lonely. It even happens in our stadia with 100,000 people cheering their lungs out for the home team.

By the way, what’s that sport’s thing about? We just went to that college, a period that had its difficulties. Or we lived in that city for a short time. And yet, both experiences tug at our tribal heartstrings.

But getting back to that loneliness, one can just pick up a brilliant book. This brings to mind, Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. Quoting from my now five-year-old review:

“His (This neurosurgeon’s) life of wonderful potential was struck down by a tumor at 37 in the organ by which we most deeply inspire the lungs. I have little doubt he gave enormous encouragement to the many needy and quite ill patients he treated.

Though knowing he was terminally ill, he and his spouse had a child. The letter he wrote to his infant daughter, presented in this work, is one of the most beautiful, tender pieces of prose I have ever read.”

That letter and that book fill one’s heart with the power of love, a gift from God through, a recipe to uplift, however brief.

Vin Scully, an Obit

Vin Scully, who died yesterday, was about 18 the year I was born and I am 77. He dates back to the great broadcaster Red Barber, who hired him with the blessing of Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, who interviewed Vince. Branch, of course, brought Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball. Vince broadcasted for the Dodgers for 67 years.

His mellifluous broadcasting was so “musical” that he was Ray Charles’ favorite broadcast journalist. But calling him simply a journalist would be like calling JS Bach an instrumentalist,

What Mr. Scully did was an art form, part poetry, part storytelling, and part filling even the most boring game with wonder for all who listened. Oh, how my fellow baseball lovers will miss your decency, love of the game, and extraordinary connection to all of us.