A lot has happened since EJ’s second birthday: We took our first family vacation (to St. Louis), we visited (EJ’s) Grandma in Cleveland for her 60th birthday (though my grandma–going on 90–was there, too!), watched our first Cleveland Indians playoffs chase & playoff game together, took in the races at Keeneland, and watched Batkid save
San Francisco Gotham.
Vacations, celebrations, playoff baseball, and world-class Thoroughbred racing are great, but nothing beats the feeling of doing something to make the world a better place. Batkid’s wish and the way I see EJ interact with people shows this is an innate desire. EJ is happy when he makes other people happy–usually with a flash of his infectious, mischievous smile or a game of tag.
It’s not really something we wanted to learn the hard way, but EJ’s condition has put us face to face with some truly remarkable people and organizations who never grew out of their wanting to be a superhero phase.
And it’s OK if superheros get paid–paid well even. A day did not go by while EJ was at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that I didn’t thank God that the medical staff there answer the call to help children. I always assumed the doctors are fairly paid, but the nurses probably deserve a raise!
Seeing the brilliance and patience (among many other things) it takes to heal (or make comfortable) sick children and their families makes me question what I’m doing with my life. Even attempting to compare marketing horse racing to treating leukemia or a critical newborn would fall as flat as Tom Cruise equating acting to fighting in Afghanistan.
And that’s why Batkid is such an inspiration. You don’t need to be able to split the atom to make the world a better place, you just need the courage to trust that God gave you certain talents for a reason.
I’d like to think one of mine is writing. At least that’s what I told myself this afternoon when crafting a story about a Wliiamsburg, Kentucky, man who bet $210 on some horse races from California and won more than $150,000. It’s a good story, but isn’t EJ’s story good, too, and why haven’t I blogged in three months?
One of my primary inspirations in this regard isn’t a writer but the comedy duo of Jason and Randy Sklar. Back when I was driving between EJ at Cincinnati Children’s and work in Lexington, the Sklar Brothers’ podcast Sklarboro Country made that drive a lot easier. During one episode they talked about meeting someone at a show who thanked them for helping him get through a particularly tough time. His story isn’t unique because I shared it.
The Sklar Brothers aren’t splitting the atom, but they have split my sides a few times, and for the state of mind I was in that was just what the doctor ordered. If the Sklars had become lawyers instead of comedians then who would have made me laugh on those trips to and fro? Bruce Vilanch? No chance.
So, thanks Batkid and Sklar Brothers and everyone else who has helped teach me that EJ doesn’t need a superhero to make his life better but everyone to be themselves.