Drunk on Thanksgiving – UPDATED

Drunk on Thanksgiving – UPDATED

Perspective. Mindset. Context.

Essential elements for you and I to maintain as we live out today and tomorrow, within the story that is OUR LIFE.

My perspective? My mindset? My context?

I am thankful for it all.

If you know me, you most likely know I’ve been blessed with a pretty detailed memory. One that allows me to remember most of my life (and yours, if I know you well enough) pretty accurately.

When I mesh my memory with my journals and social media feeds, it’s like an out-of-body experience where I can look at my life just like I do a book or movie, from the outside-in.

In doing so, I have this immense amount of gratitude, regardless of “the good” or “the bad”. I’m so thankful for it all — ESPECIALLY the ignorant and unfortunate. In reflection, the majority of my decisions have been ignorant, producing unfortunate outcomes that have been difficult to deal with.

I mean, that’s life, right?

However, some of those ignorant decisions actually had a genius storyline that only God could have written.

How about the time I decided to move away from my amazing family in New York (I was an only-child, -nephew, and -grandchild), down to Alabama all by myself at the ripe age of 20 years old, to accept a baseball scholarship at the University of Montevallo (UM). I made this decision thinking it would increase my chances of playing pro baseball… As I look back on it 17 years later, it was the ULTIMATE blind, “DREAMER” decision.

Injury-prone and discouraged, I never even garnered a full season of at-bats in my two years on the field at UM. However, I am pretty thankful that I made such a decision, because of the journey it triggered for me as an entrepreneur, a friend, a husband and a father. My decision to come down to Alabama, served as a catalyst for all of the roles I play today and all of the people who I am blessed to serve.

Mark Twain said it best — “To succeed in life you need two things; IGNORANCE and CONFIDENCE.”

I thank my parents for teaching me to be fearless with ignorance and confidence. Mom NEVER said, “James, I know that’s your dream, but I am worried you might get hurt. The world is a tough place.” Her and the rest of my family told me, “GO GET IT.”

I’m thankful for this. It gave me permission to be ignorant with confidence. It also showed me how to parent my three children and most importantly, how to passionately love my wife.

One word that Twain left out of his ingredients for success, however, is PERSEVERANCE — “that which does not kill you, makes you stronger.”

On a day like Thanksgiving, where you are told to count all your blessings, I want to encourage you to also think about your failures and tough times, and how you’ve been able to work your muscle of perseverance.

If you’re going through a tough time today, be confident in the ignorance that may have gotten you here or even the uncontrollable force(s) that made this situation come about, and work your muscle of perseverance to get stronger.

Uncontrollable force? How about the almighty God? We always hear celebrities, athletes and people in general, thanking God when something amazing has happened to them. I know that many people resent the fact that you only hear these folks praising “their God” from “The Winner’s locker room,” so let me share another story of perseverance with you from “The Loser’s locker room.”

I remember it perfectly. The ball was hit so high into the sky, just beyond my range at shortstop, so I started to run toward left-centerfield to make a play, but I ran into a teammate trying to do the same thing. We hit heads quite hard. The people I know who were there, compared the sound to two football helmets colliding.

Laying unconscious in shallow centerfield, as a mere twelve-year-old boy, with blood coming out of my eyes, nose, ears, and mouth, with my forehead skin sunken into my diminished skull… The chance for me to persevere began.

I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and told my grieving mother, “this is gonna have a perfect ending. It’s gonna be a great story to tell.”

Reconstructive surgery mended the dozens of skull pieces throughout my head, into a pretty decently organized forehead. The neurosurgeon’s initial theories of deformity, epilepsy and death that was so potent going into surgery, remained a theory versus the reality of the miracle that was my merciful survival, a sparing that only the master surgeon, our Lord God Almighty, could provide.

Today, my challenge to everyone, is to embrace and thank God for the tough, unfortunate happenings in our life. They are the pieces necessary to complete the puzzle that is our lives. These pieces all work together to bless us with the things that are much easier to be thankful for.

These tough times bring us to a place we would never have imagined or even asked for at the time. And without these challenges, we would not be who we are today, let alone who we will become tomorrow.

“Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces PERSEVERANCE. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and COMPLETE, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

– Jim