Today is Robert Benson’s birthday.
Several years ago, it was the combination of a Benson book (The Echo Within) and a Benson conversation over an Italian dinner in KC that helped me discern God’s whisper to write stories. Benson told me these words that resonated deep in my heart, “This world is desperate for good sentences, for good stories, and for those who are willing to do the hard work necessary to bring them to life.”
After thinking long and hard about Benson’s advice and consulting with my wife, I decided to take a risk and pour my heart into writing stories. When Benson endorsed Dreamfield, I celebrated and danced and jumped around the living room. The dog went crazy barking at me. I read and re-read and re-read his words.
This morning, Benson called to tell me about a book his wife gave him for his birthday that needed to move to the top of my “must have” list.
A book of brilliant baseball poetry.
E. Ethelbert Miller’s If God Invented Baseball.
He read multiple poems over the phone and laughed deep belly laughs after each poem. As always, it was good to hear his voice and share stories with him.
Benson is in my small community of writers whose words help me continue to take chances and “poke holes in the darkness,” as he might say. I am delighted to call him a friend.
There are no shortage of risks on life’s journey.
Larry is also taking a risk, trying something new in an attempt to bring the 417 community together.
He first had the idea a couple years ago, inspired by 314 Day in St. Louis. Just a few months ago, Larry went all in. With the help of some friends, they brought 417 Day to the community.
With the horrible weather we’ve been having, I was concerned there could be snow on the ground. Or a tornado. Or a snow tornado. But the weather could not have been more perfect.
The event was set up near one of my favorite catch playing sites, in Fassnight Park, so on the way to get Kaylea from school, I drove to the park and introduced myself to Larry.
“Any chance you’ve got time for a game of catch?”
As we tossed the ball, the deejay started spinning tunes and volunteers continued to roll in, helping Larry’s dream become a reality. Larry told me his thinking behind creating 417 Day.
“There’s so much in this world that causes division, I just felt called to pour my heart into loving neighbors and my community. You have to choose to celebrate what’s good. Take a risk and do something that brings people together.”
It sounded a lot like what I tell people about Catch 365.
Happy birthday and thank you, Benson, for your words that helped me take a risk.
Tip of the hat and thank you, Larry, for taking a risk and striving to bring the 417 community together.
Happy 417 Day!