This morning, I drove to work with a cloud hanging over me. I had parted on bad terms with both my son and my husband. Alexander was surly and uncooperative about getting ready for school. Dirk was stressed about work. Even though I had gotten up early to do yoga and had spent a few minutes sitting quietly and taking deep breaths before my morning coffee, I felt tense and anxious. I thought about how quickly my mood could shift based on my interactions with other members of the family, and I wondered if I would ever to be able to maintain a strong sense of inner peace and happiness even when things were amiss in our family world — or the world, at large.
After a few hours at work, the cloud began to clear. But I also came across something that set my thoughts down another path and lifted my spirits. In a recap of the previous night’s Yankees – Kanas City Royals game, I read a quote from pitcher Mariano Rivera, one of baseball’s greatest closers of all time. Rivera was born and raised in Panama; he started working on a fishing boat at age 16 after graduating from high school. In his late teens he began playing baseball in an amateur league, which is where he was scouted and signed by the Yankees. He came to the United States speaking no English. A couple of cool things about Rivera — he will be 42 this fall (terribly old by professional baseball standards!), he’s played for the same team his entire career, and he’s what my dad and I call “a sweetie pie” — good guy, no drama, modest and self-effacing — but an amazing pitcher who has the job of coming into the game in the 9th inning when his team is ahead (but often by only a run or two) and closing out the opposition. There is no room for error in these situations. Most of the time Mariano (or “Mo”) is nearly perfect but, prior to last night, he had three bad outings in a row — two blown saves followed by a game where he got the save but not before giving up a home run on his first pitch. Then, last night, he came in in the 9th and was perfect again.
What he said later about the game: “I don’t worry. I have peace of mind. Believe me, I do.”