Pulling the Plug
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
September 2, 2006 was a banner day for Kevin Kouzmanoff. He was a rookie third baseman for the Cleveland Indians when he stepped up to the plate for the first time. The bases were loaded. On the first pitch he hit a home run . . . a grand slam! A good way to begin one’s MLB career. He went on to hit 86 more home runs in his 11-years in major league baseball.
June 4, 2000 was a good day for another baseball rookie. A Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher, Esteban Yan, hit a home run on the first pitch the first time at bat in the big leagues. Like Kouzmanoff, he played in the majors for 11 years . . . and never hit another home run.
There are highlights in life. Some are one-shot-never-replicated events . . . others are a beginning of things that are carried forward for years. Thanks can be given for both. A couple of personal examples follow.
The highest mountain I summited in my modest alpine mountaineering career was Mt. Rainier. In July 2001 I stood atop the 14,400-foot mountain with one thought in mind: “Thank you, Lord, I can’t go up anymore.” While it was a peak experience, it was a height never again attained with crampons and ice axe. Ten years later a total shoulder replacement ended my technical climbing days. I remember the many summits with fondness and gratitude, but I have had to reconcile with the fact that my human frailty limits the future to challenging hiking.
My profession as a preacher began on March 28, 1976 in the small farming community of Swan River, Manitoba. It hasn’t ended yet. While I retired from full-time ministry in 2013, I continue to be asked to fill-in preach from time to time. This is much appreciated because while I still feel the call to preach, I never need to attend another committee meeting.
A wise person will discern when to pull the plug on high-mountain climbing . . . or preaching. That same wisdom might lead one to continue an activity that is judged still beneficial to self and/or others. In either case, gratitude for the opportunities is a life-giving emotion.