The last time the Chicago Cubs made the World Series was 1945. The last time they won a World Series was 1908. As the baseball season dwindles down and the Cubs compete for a playoff spot, their fiery manager Lou Piniella said, “There are no concerns, about anything.”
Piniella is known for his combative eruptions, but he added, “I’ve been through these things before. You got to let these things play out. Pennant races have a life of their own, like a hurricane. They keep going and going until they hit landfall. Landfall will be sometime next weekend.”
No, Piniella is not in some nihilistic funk, and he has not given up. He is as competitive as ever; indeed, he has promised Cubs fans that their “frustration” will end under his managerial reign.
I have no idea if Lou Piniella has suddenly become a Zen master, but there is wisdom in his advice about allowing things to “play out.” He seems to understand that his worry or bluster will change nothing about the outcome of the pennant race. Let his players play with heart and the outcome will be what it will be.
How often I have forgotten to do exactly that.
Currently there is a photograph on my refrigerator of my son and my wife. It was taken when my son was a year old. He is riding in a baby carrier on my wife’s back.
I have looked at this photo many times, but I never saw it like I saw it today. Today I felt an incredible poignancy while looking at the photo. As I looked, all I felt was the pure Love and the vibrancy of the moment on that day over 11 years ago.
I felt poignancy because I experience many moments where I don’t feel Love. Indeed, even at the moment that I took the photograph, I’m not sure I felt the Love. Although I have no particular memories, I am sure I had my “concerns” and events were occurring around me which, at the time, may have seemed like a “pennant race.” These “concerns” clouded what was there and prevented my full enjoyment of the moment. But the gifts of that moment were never lost and were being saved for me.
The clouds were mind-created and were never really there in the first place. This is true about each and every moment. Some days, the cloud cover we create is denser; but Love is always there giving its gifts. We can open our gifts in that moment or in a future moment.
I don’t know if Lou Piniella would agree with me, but the gifts of the moment for the Cubs are the joy of playing as a team with all the gusto that they can muster. That is the one choice over which they do have control; over winning or losing, they do not.
Don Mclean wrote in his 1970 song “And I Love You So”:
The book of life is brief
And once a page is read,
All but love is dead.
That is my belief.
Best wishes to the Cubs; best wishes to all teams. There will be only one World Series winner, but every team will face the same choice when they look back over the season: Will they choose to feel the Love or will they remember the clouds?