When we eventually forget about the too-expensive gifts, the too-much-eating-and-drinking holiday parties, the Christmas cards we’ve hung all over our home, the barely-spent moment thinking about the religious meaning of Christmas—we find ourselves looking backwards over the year just past, exulting, regretting, kicking ourselves in the butt that we should have but DIDN’T do this or that. Life, as John Lennon said, is what happens while you’re making other plans.
I like that Lennon quote. Several times each day, Facebook friends post one quote or another on my page. Some are funny, some are annoying, some of them are quite beautiful, some are religious, many are political. I enjoy and welcome them all. Quite a few have to do with animals, and since I am a COMPLETE animal-lover, they are even more special to me.
Do we all have mantras? Do we have quotes we remember, quotes that actually change our lives? I have a few, some having to do with how I make my living, as a writer. But there is ONE that I think of every day and strive to make it happen. It didn’t come from a great philosopher. It didn’t come from Shakespeare or Tolstoy. It didn’t come from a self-help book by Wayne Dyer. It didn’t come from the Bible or the Torah or the Koran.
It comes from a Hollywood movie which debuted about eighteen years ago—can’t remember the year exactly and there’s no need for me stopping to look it up. And the film was not about romance, not about gangsters, not about God, not about Christmas.
It’s about baseball.
WOMEN’S baseball, as a matter of fact. It’s called “A League of Their Own,” it was directed by Penny Marshall (The Laverne of “Laverne and Shirley”), and it starred Tom Hanks as the manager of a women’s baseball team during the Second World War years, and Geena Davis as one of its top players. Now, it’s a pretty good flick, but not even close to being the greatest movie ever made. (How could anything possibly be better than “Dumb and Dumber?” But that’s for another moment.) It does, however, contain a quote I live by.
Geena Davis tells Tom Hanks, her manager, that she wants to quit playing baseball because,as she says, “It’s too hard.” And his answer is one that branded itself into my heart: “Of course it’s hard! If it was easy, everyone would do it. HARD IS WHAT MAKES IT GREAT.”
It’s true about baseball. Or football. Or golf or tennis or bowling. It’s also true about writing. And selling. And inventing. And creating. And doing open-heart surgery or digging a ditch or making a terrific cup of coffee. It’s true about EVERYTHING we do—or it should be.
So enjoy December 25th and don’t judge—“keep Christmas in your own way and let me keep it in mine.” Have a joyous, fruitful, fulfilling, contented and very Happy New Year. And if things don’t always go your way next year, if you run into a bump in the road, if there are a few disappointments, or a few dreams that don’t come true—just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again, and always ALWAYS remember: “HARD IS WHAT MAKES IT GREAT.”
With love to you all,