Monday, September 26, 2016

MLB Week 25 – Why

Image result for jose fernandez rip

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It’s impossible to speak about an unspeakable tragedy, but I will try to share my thoughts in the next few paragraphs.

Sunday is my only day off from my job as a clerk for the United States Postal Service. It’s the only morning I get to rise late, around 10am, review my Sunday School lesson for our noon service, play with my granddaughter, and otherwise do little else before leaving for church.

September 25, was just a typical Sunday morning for me and my family, we’re beginning a study from Acts chapter 18 in Sunday School, so I made sure I had my notes ready and grabbed a bowl of cereal for a Sunday morning news briefing on television. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard.

I’ve been a Christian for 32 years, an Assistant Pastor for eight years and, in 2010, I earned an Associate’s Degree in Theology, but nothing prepared me for the shock of hearing the tragic death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Why?

How do you answer that question? Why? Why does someone so young, 24, with his life before him, a hugely successful pitcher, with a larger than life attitude, take a seemingly harmless boating trip only to never return. How does that happen? Why did that happen? Too many questions, not enough answers.

The first thing to remember, to paraphrase the Apostle Paul in his writing to the Romans, we are the creature, God is the Creator. Life is precious in His eyes, and our earthly existence is but a brief vapor if you consider the vastness of eternity. Every one of us are a part of His plan, whether you accept Him or not. You are not here by accident.

Secondly, we have no guarantee of the next ten seconds, let alone tomorrow, or next week, month, year, etc. Life is fragile, handle with prayer.

Finally, God is not an egotistical megalomaniac who chooses whom to keep alive while eliminating others. He is a kind, loving, Deity who loves His children, and wants to see them succeed, helping others along the way. Life is worth living, as long as Jesus Christ has control of your life.

In spite of what you may have heard, asking God “Why” does not make you less of a Christian. I believe God welcomes that question.

Sunday September 25, 2016 was supposed to a day we remember the 67 years Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully as he broadcasts his final game with the organization, an exciting walk off home run which clinched the National League West Division. Instead we’ll remember the day in the same tone as we remember December 31, 1972, the day Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Roberto Clemente lost his life in a tragic plane crash while delivering supplies to an earthquake ravaged Nicaragua, as well as August 2, 1979, the day New York Yankee catcher and team captain Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash near Akron, Ohio.

Future Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron was given the heart-wrenching task to replace Munson as Yankees catcher.

I read Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Ted Power’s comments about Jose Fernandez, he compared it to that fateful March evening in 1993, when two Cleveland Indians pitchers, Tim Crews and Steve Olin, were killed in a boating accident near the Indians Florida Spring Training facility. The accident also severely injured Bobby Ojeda. Power said he was supposed to accompany his teammates on the trip but was unable to go.

In my opinion, the most touching tribute was written by Marlins teammate Giancarlo Stanton who posted on his Instagram account;

“I’m still waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I lost my brother today and can't quite comprehend it. The shock is overwhelming. What he meant to me, our team, the city of Miami, Cuba & everyone else in the world that his enthusiasm/heart has touched can never be replaced. I can't fathom what his family is going through because We, as his extended Family are a wreck. I gave him the nickname Niño because he was just a young boy Amongst men, yet those men could barely compete with him. He had his own level, one that was changing the game. EXTRAORDINARY, as a person before the player. Yet still just a kid, who's joy lit up the stadium more than lights could. A kid whose time came too soon. One that I will miss & never forget. Rest In Peace Niño, Jose Fernandez”

The Miami Marlins will move on from this, as did the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, when Darryl Kile passed, and the other teams that suffered deaths of teammates. If you didn’t cry with Dee Gordon as he rounded the bases after hitting that surreal home run to lead off Marlins first inning versus the Mets on Monday night, then I must question your humanity.

By contrast, on Sunday night, news broke about the death of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer at the age of 87, or three and a half times older than Jose Fernandez. You expect to hear of the passing of eighty-year old’s, not twenty plus year old’s, but death is an appointment we all will keep, and death does not discriminate, no matter the age.

There are just some questions that will always remain unanswerable.

Have a blessed week. Please keep the victims’ families in your prayers.

Dan Howard

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