ANGEL AND THE SILVER DOLLAR

There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations that we can’t explain while it is happening. I experienced such a moment when I was a young boy. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was certainly surreal. It was a special moment—one I can still visualize it as if it happened yesterday. However, it occurred fifty-six years ago.

So, what brings about such moments as this? Well, it’s simple when we understand that sometimes in life there are forces far more powerful than ourselves helping us accomplish feats that are beyond our abilities. Allow me to explain the moment I experienced.

When I was a youngster, I was very shy. I never liked being the center of attention—NEVER! I just wanted to do my own thing without any fanfare from others.

At age eleven, I had the honor of being one of fourteen players selected for the 1960 Orangeburg Little League All-Star baseball team. That in itself was a major milestone for me because there were many talented twelve-year olds who also played during the regular season. I was very fortunate to have some of the coaches recognize my ability to play baseball. However, unknown to them, their confidence in me set in motion the unusual event that was about to unfold.

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What I didn’t know at the time was that this was going to be a defining moment in my life—both athletically and spiritually.

I was the starting centerfielder in the first Little League All-Star game in Barnwell, SC. To say starting the game surprised me would be an understatement. Anyway, I took the field with butterflies flying around in my stomach to the point I felt as if I was going to hurl my lunch before the game started, but, thank goodness, I didn’t.

The game had gone great for our team and we had a one-run lead in the bottom of the last inning. Then, momentum swung to the other team and they had men on second and third base with one out. I stood in centerfield with a lump in my throat and prayed, “Lord, please don’t let the batter hit the ball to me.” That’s not exactly what an “all-star” player should be thinking at such a time.

Unfortunately, for me, God didn’t respond to my innocent-childlike prayer the way I had hoped He would. On the very next pitch, the batter hit a hard line-drive straight toward me—the most difficult trajectory and direction for an outfielder to catch the ball.

I ran toward the ball and caught it just above my shoelaces for out number two. The runner on third base tagged up and headed toward home plate. If he scored, it would tie the game. If my throw was off-target, the runner on second base could also score and we would lose the game. Without hesitation, I reared back and fired the ball toward the catcher. It was a perfect strike, and the runner was out by two strides. It was a double play, and the game was over. We won the game!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had never thrown a runner out at home plate from centerfield in my life. The fans went wild and cheered louder than I had ever heard before. As I ran off the field, my teammates gathered around me and celebrated the moment—the victory and the throw! Though there were not thousands of fans in the stands that night, it sure sounded like it to me. To say the least, I was happy for what happened, but I also wanted to hide.

I was shocked by what I had just accomplished. The moment was truly surreal. I thought, “Did I really do that? Was I dreaming? How did that ball leave my hand and hit the catcher’s mitt for a perfect strike from centerfield?”

That’s when I paused and said, “Lord, You didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted, but thank You for blessing me with an angel to guide my throw to home plate.”

After the game, the father of our pitcher came over to me and congratulated me for my unbelievable throw. He said, “That was a great throw, Tatum! An awesome play like that deserves a reward. This is for you.” That’s when he placed a silver dollar in my hand—the only money I ever received for playing baseball.

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I’m sure you can imagine the joy I felt that night, but I knew I didn’t make that throw on my own. An angel assisted me on the field that night, and yet, I received a silver-dollar reward for “our” effort.

It is the special moments in life that make you smile, and this moment has put a smile on my face for over fifty years. Have I ever told my grandchildren this story? Sure, I have! Many times, and I smile every time I tell the story. In fact, I’m smiling right now!

Here’s the amazing finale to the story. I tried throwing a ball in similar situations at practice more than a hundred times and never made that play again. Without any pressure of a real-game situation, I couldn’t repeat the “magical” throw.

I’m sure the Lord has more important concerns than helping a young boy throw a ball to home plate, but I also know I could never have made that throw on my own. Then again, what if…

Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

So, what do you think happened that night? Did I suddenly have powers far beyond my abilities or did an angel assist me? No one could be that lucky.

I’m sure you have also had similar moments in your life. Would you care to share one of your special moments when you accomplished something beyond your capabilities?

Blessings to you and yours, and have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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HOPE FAITH PRAYER

hopefaithprayer1

No matter what is happening in our lives…

HOPE

gives us reason to face another day.

When we add

FAITH to HOPE,

we become empowered.

When we add

PRAYER

to

HOPE and FAITH,

 

WE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS!

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WHAT WE DON”T KNOW

A simple thought, but one that is very true. I’ve been there—have you?

whatwedontknow

Have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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IT JUST HAPPENED

You didn’t choose to be born…

IT JUST HAPPENED!

You didn’t get to choose your parents…

IT JUST HAPPENED!

You didn’t get to choose where you were born…

IT JUST HAPPENED!

As an adult, you have choices…

Take control of your life and don’t let

IT JUST HAPPEN!

itjusthappened

Have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Quote

TRUTH CAN SET YOU FREE

It takes courage to ask questions when the answers may hurt deeply, but it is better to know the truth and move on than to live in a fantasy world fearing what may not even exist. The truth, good or bad, can set you free.

Seek the truth and be blessed,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

thetruth

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Quote

SUCCESS COMES FROM DOING THE RIGHT THINGS RIGHT

You do not succeed in life by doing the wrong things right or by doing the right things wrong.

Success comes from having a good plan, giving it your best, working hard, and by doing the right things right.

successcomesfrom

Have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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NO TIME FOR GRANDPA

notimeforgrandpa2

If you are a parent or grandparent, you can probably relate to this tale about a grandpa’s love and loneliness experiences with his grandchildren. Many of you may have experienced similar situations. If not, you likely will at some time in life.

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I decided to stop by a local diner for a quick lunch the other day. That in itself is not important, but what happened while I was there certainly is.

The diner was crowded, but I spotted a small-empty table located against the rear wall. It was a table for two. As I sat waiting to place my order, I noticed a man looking around the room and sensed he was searching for a place to sit. Since I was dining alone, I motioned for him to come join me.

As he approached the table, I couldn’t help noticing how similar we were in appearance—size, hair, beard—even our shirts were the same. I felt as though I was looking at my reflection in a mirror.

He introduced himself as John. I’m guessing we were about the same age. We exchanged pleasantries and quickly started solving all the problems plaguing the world today—old folks are inclined to do that sometimes.

About halfway through lunch, I noticed a tear running down John’s cheek. I asked if I said something that had upset him. He told me no and proceeded to explain the reason for his tear.

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“Tom, when I was a young man, God blessed me with two beautiful children. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a good father to either of them. I regret not spending more quality time with them when they were young. Thank goodness, their wonderful mother managed to fill the void of my deficiencies.

“When we became empty nesters, I promised myself I would do things differently with my grandchildren. I didn’t want to create any more regrets in my life.

I was fifty-years old when my first grandchild was born. It was definitely one of the happiest days of my life. My son named the boy Joseph in honor of his mother’s father. Little Joseph lived nearby, so I was able to visit him often, even if only for a few minutes each day. I was determined to make good on my promise; I’m proud to say I did.

“As a baby and toddler, Joseph had a way of making me feel special. When I walked into the room where he was playing, his big blue eyes opened wide and a big smile spread from ear-to-ear. He would immediately raise his arms for me to pick him up. The joy he displayed by my presence melted my heart. I often close my eyes to this day and picture those wonderful moments. A special bond formed between us, and I enjoyed every minute we spent together.

“It wasn’t long before grandchildren Lisa, Elijah, Rebecca, and Daniel came into my life. To say I was in heaven with this clan of five would be an understatement. The only problem was Lisa and Rebecca lived in a distant town, so I wasn’t able to visit them as often as I did my grandsons.

“I enjoyed all five grands and felt blessed to have them in my life. We spent many great moments together when they were young. Like most Grandpas do, I played with them, but I also tried to teach them about life—I wanted them to grow up to be the best they could be no matter what they chose to do in life.

“When Joseph turned fourteen, the strong bond we once shared began to fade away. His interests transitioned to school, sports, friends, and a multitude of electronic gadgets. I guess it was a natural progression of grands getting older and spreading their wings. He no longer desired to spend time with me, which was something I never expected. I naively thought our special bond would last forever. I guess I missed the ‘No Time for Grandpa’ course when I was in school.

“Unfortunately, Joseph wasn’t the only grandchild who no longer had time to spend with Grandpa. As each year passed, another grandchild seemed to pull away from me. My heart broke a little more each time. I think I know how the buggy-whip manufacturer felt when the automobile replaced the horse and buggy—no one needs you anymore.

“I felt a giant void in my life and didn’t know what happened. Each day became a struggle because I wished to share special moments with each of them again. Thankfully, the emptiness I’ve felt for years changed a little bit today.

“That tear running down my cheek is not a tear of sadness. No, no! It’s a tear of joy! A happy tear as they say! You see, I was just thinking about a text message Joseph sent me early this morning. It was an answer to my many prayers and turned another ordinary day into a very special one.

“Here’s the message Joseph sent me. 

‘Hi Grandpa! I’ve missed you so much! I’d like to spend some time with you today. May I come visit you tonight? I have many things to tell you. I’ll see you at 6, if that’s okay. Love ya! Joseph’

6-pm

“I think you can understand how happy I am at this moment. I can’t wait for 6 o’clock to get here! I am a very happy Grandpa today!”

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John and I finished lunch and I wished him well. I told him to have a wonderful evening with Joseph. He smiled and insisted on paying for our meals. I declined his generous offer and told him I’d take care of the bill. We shook hands and he started walking away.

John took three steps from the table, turned around, and then with a big smile said, “Hang in there, Tom. I am confident your grands will do the same for you one day. Trust me, they know how much you love them. They just haven’t figured out how much they still love and need you in their lives. Grandchildren may drift away sometimes, but they will return when they sort life out. Be patient. Don’t let go of what you hope will be.

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I sat for a few moments wondering what made me invite John to join me for lunch. Did he share his story with me because he somehow knew my struggles were similar to his?

When the server brought me the check, I noticed it was for only one meal. I asked her to include John’s meal and was shocked when she said she had only served one meal to my table.

Then I started wondering if John was ever even there. Maybe I was just talking to my subconscious mind the entire time. Could he have been an angel God sent to ease my loneliness? Maybe…

It was then a tear rolled down my cheek. However, my tear was not one of joy or sadness, but one of hope—hoping John’s ghostly appearance was right—hoping I’d soon receive a similar text message from my grands.

To capture this unusual moment, I wrote the following thoughts on a napkin.

NO TIME FOR GRANDPA

When my grands arrived, they brought me joy.

I smiled each day, for I was their toy.

But those days are just a memory,

As I now sit idle on their shelf.

 

With computer gadgets they now play,

And have no time for Grandpa, they say.

So, I just stop by from time to time,

Hoping they notice me standing there.

 

Each day comes and goes without a chat.

I never dreamed it would be like that.

Many memories I still hold dear,

And my love will never fade away.

 

I pray you never feel as I do,

But should such sadness come visit you,

Remember John’s parting words to me.

Don’t let go of what you hope will be.

Enjoy every moment you spend with your grandchildren because there may come aTimeinLife when they have No Time For Grandpa.

Blessings,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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