In one's life, experience is often times the best teacher. Each day we are given a set of opportunities. How we interact with these opportunities will define positive and negative experiences. These experiences will be incorporated with other memories to determine one's value system which in turn defines your personality. I have often pondered the concepts of destiny and fate and how they relate to our lives. I personally do not believe in these terms. I feel we each have the opportunity to be what we are based upon the decisions and the experiences we have. How else could we exercise our free agency if we were not given choices? In the course of my life, I have experienced much. Some of these experiences are wonderful memories, some I would just as soon forget. Nonetheless, these help to make up my individuality and I am grateful to have had them. Often times looking back over my life, I find that the negative experiences I have had have been the most beneficial in my life. They have given me the opportunity to reevaluate my decision making and make course adjustments which in turn have led to strengthening my character.
I have been present at the birth of each of my children. I cannot say I went into the delivery room willingly, nor I can state that I was enthusiastic about watching my wife go through the pains of child birth. I can unequivocally state that I am glad to have been there to witness the miracle of birth. There is nothing I can say which could capture the emotion involved with seeing your child come into this world. As each were born, I witnessed their first breath of life followed by a long and beautiful cry. I held each of them in my arms, cradling them and calming them down before turning these beautiful packages over to their tired but happy mother. I do not claim to be the best father but I love my children more than life itself. I would do anything for any of them, that is the dedication I feel to my family.
At the age of 24, Trina and I lost our second child during child birth. Lindsay Marie Summers would have been 15 now but she will forever be my baby. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my daughter and all the experiences we missed out sharing together. I could be bitter, but that emotion would serve no purpose. I could question God and why this has happened but that would be presumptuous of me to doubt the plans of God. Instead, I take my loss and use it to teach me to appreciate all that I still have. The Lord has blessed me with five wonderful children on this earth. There are times when I get caught up in the present and what I have not thinking about what the future holds. This is when thoughts of Lindsay come into my mind. She is always there to remind me that besides my work here on earth, I also have responsibilities in Heaven. I must continue to try and live worthily to return to Heaven to raise my daughter Lindsay. That thought drives me each time I become depressed or complacent in how I am living my life. In this sense, my loss may in fact be my saving grace to drive me to be more than I would have otherwise to be reunited with my daughter.
All experiences need not be deep nor soul shaking. Instead, sometimes you learn things about yourself and those who love you in a rather small and simple expression. But even a small expression of love can blossom into something you cannot expect or predict. One such example happened to me in September 1998. The 1998 baseball season was nearly complete and I had attended every Arizona Diamondbacks game that had been played at Bank One Ballpark. I had taken one of the children or Trina to every game. The family thought that I should be rewarded for my accomplishment but were unsure what reward they could give me. One evening, I happened to take Trina to a Diamondbacks game. As usual, we arrived at the game in time to watch batting practice. After the Diamondbacks completed their turn, Trina and I went walking around the stadium. Along the way, I saw a gentleman coming towards us. As we passed, I said hello as did he and we continued walking. I turned to Trina and asked if she knew who that was. She stated she did not. I explained that was Rich Dozer, president of the Diamondbacks. At that moment, she excused herself and left me to walk alone to the team shop. Little did I know that she chased Mr. Dozer down half way across the stadium. When she caught him, she exclaimed that she felt her husband should throw out the first pitch at a Diamondbacks game. He must have thought this woman off her rocker but listened and asked why I should be given this honor. Trina explained to him how I had attended every game, kept score at each, and how I was teaching each of the children to love the game. He was interested and told her he was going to talk to Jerry Colangelo, owner of the Diamondbacks about her story. The next week, Trina called Mr. Dozer's office and talked with him again. Mr. Dozer asked Trina to send a letter stating why I should throw out the first pitch. Trina obliged and soon things were in motion. One afternoon I received a call at work from Rich Dozer, president of the Diamondbacks. He asked me if I would throw out the first pitch of the last game of the Inaugural Season for the Diamondbacks. It was a dream come true for a baseball fan and on September 27, 1998 I was down on the field throwing out the first pitch of the game before a sell-out crowd of 49,000 people. A full description of my experience can be found on my NowHitting web site. It was a wonderful experience I will never forget and was brought about because of the love a wife and five children have for their father.