Two movie quotes are bouncing around in my oddly constructed brain. The first one is from Tom Hank’s excellent film A League of Their Own. Hanks plays manager Jimmy Dugan in a movie about a womens’ baseball league during World War II. Dugan sarcastically berates one of his players after a mistake and she bursts into tears, prompting this response.
Are you crying? Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying, there’s no crying in baseball. Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pig (droppings). And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry? No. No. And do you know why?
Evelyn Gardner: No, no, no.
Jimmy Dugan: Because there’s no crying in baseball.
That was the message I received loud and clear as a youngster growing up in scenic Chillicothe, Ohio in the 50’s and 60’s. My heroes did not cry. And therefore I determined I would never admit to crying. Catch that? I would never admit to crying. I learned early that to be that strong you couldn’t really be honest. And that brings me to the source of my youthful dilemma. Old Yeller. I totally violated my no crying resolve during that movie. I realized I was not alone when I watched the movie Stripes and this inspirational speech by Bill Murray’s character.
Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end? Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? I’m sure.
I cried my eyes out.
Despite my childhood resolve I discovered there is crying in baseball, football, and especially in life. There has been crying during Joni’s cancer journey. I have realized that there is no shame in that admission. Women who read these humble ramblings are probably wondering what kind of an idiot would think that there is shame in crying? The answer is the species called men (Americus Johnius Waynicus). But I no longer follow the example of the Duke on that issue. So it was no surprise that the Kleenex came out when I viewed a video by country group Rascal Flatts today. The song is called Skin and the lyrics tell the story of a high school girl named Sara Beth. She learns that she has leukemia and Sara Beth fears that no one will want to take a girl with no hair to the prom. The lyrics are powerful and the video is even more so.
Obviously this video touches me in our season of life. I have written about what God is teaching me about what real beauty looks like. I have also seen the strength and courage of these incredible women who are battling breast cancer. They are constant inspiration and encouragement to me.
This is the ending of the song Skin.
They go dancing
Around and around without any cares
And her very first true love is holding her close
And for a moment she isn’t scared
Joni and I have cried. We have been scared. Then I meditate on the words in I John…
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
We have learned that if we close our eyes and allow the God who first loved us to hold us close…for a moment we are not scared.