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Jennie Ritchie is an author, teacher, speaker, and wife of Wally Ritchie, former Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher. Her new book, Keeping It Together When Life Throws You Curves; A Major League Wife’s Guide to Overcoming Challenges with Faith and Fortitude, will inspire Sisters through stories of overcoming and triumph in the face of life’s ‘curves’. The book chronicles the Ritchie’s 25-year baseball adventure with many stories our Sisters will relate to! Visit jennieritchie.com for more details.
During this Thanksgiving time, most of us focus on gratitude. It is a wonderful season to look around and appreciate the blessings we’ve been given. It can also be a difficult time for many who are facing challenges. In order to maintain our grateful outlook during life’s ‘curves’, we can concentrate on our blessings and the good in our lives, accept situations we cannot control, and be flexible when necessary.
In my book, Chapter 2, entitled “The Game Stretches Us”, begins with our story of getting the call to Philadelphia: “We decided that if we were still on the team after the next road trip, we would get an apartment. After the next road trip, we would get a telephone. After the next one, our belongings from Scranton (AAA), and so it went. With the call up came the challenge of learning a new town, a much bigger one this time, new people, and how to be a “big-league” wife. Wally ended up staying the rest of the year in the majors, and the next season as well. So much for “settling in” in Scranton. Obviously, it would have been silly of me to want to stay in Scranton, just because that was the plan and where I was comfortable. The major leagues provided so many new adventures for us and success for Wally. It was definitely a time of uncertainty, but one that turned out to be incredible.”
Having a husband involved in professional sports taught me flexibility, patience and resilience. I also learned to rely on the Lord, especially in situations I could not control. There are times in our lives when we don’t have a plan or answers to our questions – we have to be flexible and look for the positive. In my book, I also share stories of others who have overcome a variety of life’s difficult challenges through faith. Focusing on our family and blessings can keep our gratitude level high.
On the other hand, expecting perfection can erase our feelings of gratitude. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 8, “Life’s Not Perfect”: “If we are always looking down the road for the perfect situation, we have a great excuse for NOT feeling happy and grateful for each day we have right now. When our happiness is contingent on a perfect situation we hope will arise, we tend to miss the joy right in front of us. Enjoy each moment you are given. Give gratitude to the Lord for your day, your life, your blessings. The more we appreciate what we have, the easier it becomes to see the good in our lives, even though they may be far from perfect.”
In the last chapter, “Learning From the Game”, I write: “…We are not major league baseball players, but it’s the same for us. Sometimes we’re the goat, sometimes the hero. Sometimes we make the right play, other times we don’t. We know we will face curves that we have no idea how to hit. But we can find joy in our lives despite the challenges. Curves are scary and difficult. That is the game of life; we still have to live it. We don’t know why good people encounter challenging times. All we know for certain is we have to keep playing the game with patience and determination.”
Like you, I am grateful for my family and the learning experiences we’ve had. We all face challenges in life. Despite the circumstances, we can feel gratitude by focusing on the blessings in our lives. I’m grateful for perspective which allows us to look back on challenges and realize what we’ve come through. Through our faith and inner strength, we can overcome any curve life throws.