Laying on of Hands

Last week I witnessed a laying on of hands at a youth baseball game. 


D. was struggling mightily on the pitcher’s mound.  He had the strength he needed,   but not the control, and couldn’t get the ball over the plate.  Batter after batter, it was one of those tortuous innings everyone is praying will end, please, soon.  By the time the it was over and the boys headed to the dugout, D was hanging his head, looking defeated, on the edge of tears. 


Coach wouldn’t let the team take their seats, but had the boys gather in a big clump around D. 


“Listen up, fellas, I want to talk to you.  D had a tough time out there, but he worked hard and we’re proud of him.  He’s one of us and we’re all in this together, hear me?  Now everybody put a hand on D.” 


The clump of boys squeezed in even closer together, all hands on D. 


“I want to hear every kid on this team now, repeat after me: It’s okay, D.”

            “It’s okay, D!


“It’s okay, D!”

            “It’s okay, D!


It’s okay, D!”

            “It’s okay, D!


“You’ll get ‘em next time!”

            “You’ll get ‘em next time!”


And on the game went.  D was done pitching for the day, but not for good.  I have no idea how far he’ll go in the world of baseball, but however good he gets to be, I’dll credit it to the support of the people who embraced him when he stumbled. 


There are plenty of times when our place in an organization depends on the effectiveness of our performance.  There’s no getting around that.  But we are able to choose a way of relating in the world that sees struggle and failure not as a weakness, or a reason to cut others off, but as an opportunity to come together and offer support. 


And of course, each of us has been that kid who failed and wanted to give up, and we each will be again. 


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