Remembering Corey Dillon

September 24, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

What is it about being young?

New England RevolutionI saw my 9 years of age buddy today. I’ve known him since he was about 4. He loves the Red Sox, Celtics and even the New England Revolution. He plays hockey sometimes, too. He plays shortstop for his baseball team and let me know all about the fall league that is about to begin. He told me about the time he hit a home run. Another time, he hit a triple. He stopped at third because the coach told him to stop, but he knows that he could have made it home safely.  His soccer team plays against the older kids. In their last game, he scored the team’s only goal.

There is something about his eyes. They’re subtly wild and dance back and forth. They’re more colorful than most. Something about them screams youth and innocence and hope. He can’t wait for the future. He wonders which major league baseball team he will play for, but has vowed to never play for the Yankees. He wonders if he’ll end up on the same team as his friend.

* * *

I remember carefully studying the seniors during my first year at Boston University. I wanted to know if they were happy. If they were happy, I would know that the school had treated them well. I searched for signs of satisfaction and fulfillment. I figured that I would be in their place in a few years and wanted to get some clues as to my own future. They didn’t look particularly happy, though. They looked kind of stressed and tired. They looked a little beaten up. They looked worn out.

After graduating, I started studying elderly people. I studied people who had done their best to live an upright life. I looked for signs of joy or peace or even happiness. I wanted to know if they had been paid off for their efforts. What exactly was their reward?

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* * *

Life takes a toll on everybody. Injuries mess up what was once a promising sports career. A broken relationship brings a level of pain a youngster never knew existed. Friends move away. Loved ones die. Color is drained from the face. Hurt hardens hearts. Bright eyes gradually go dull.

I wonder how many people are truly happy with how things have worked out for them. Is today really the tomorrow we dreamed about yesterday? It is the future, for sure, but I don’t ever recall dreaming about this. I never signed up for the life I’m living. This was never part of my plans.

* * *

The last chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes begins like this:

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”1

It goes on to list a bunch of other lousy things that will happen. I’m not sure I understand what this book is saying. Remember God before life begins to suck? Is that the lesson? And isn’t it easier to remember God in the days of your youth? Isn’t it a bit harder to remember God when nothing turns out right? Shouldn’t the warning be to remember God when everything falls apart? And just what are you supposed to do when the days of trouble come? Are you supposed to stop remembering? Is all the remembering you did earlier in life supposed to carry you through? Is all hope destined to end in despair?

* * *

I was in a flower shop recently and marveled at the beautiful flowers. I thought it was rather pointless for them to look so beautiful. corey_dillonLike the Ultimate Warrior, flowers have no staying power. In just a few short days, they are dead. Is one single day so important that God would cause the prime of this beautiful little creation to be so short?

Flowers are like running backs. Running backs have 3 or 4 years of glory and are soon forgotten. Just ask Corey Dillon. It wasn’t too long ago that he was a rising star. Nobody really thinks about him much anymore. He is yesterday’s flower. The same fate awaits LaDanian Tomlinson. No amount of rushing yards will bring him immortality. It may take longer, but eventually he will be forgotten like most everybody else. His spotlight is already starting to fade.

* * *

Sometimes, I’m taken aback and the ridiculousness of it all. We get dropped off in our Mother’s wound and are born into a world of confusion. It’s like we entered a game in progress, but no one ever sat down with us to fully explained all the rules. We have so many questions, but have to keep playing the game as we search for answers.

If there is one thing I’m learning more and more these days, it’s that none of us have much of a clue as to what is going on. As Donald Miller puts it, we have the sense that certain events mean something, but we’re not sure what. Ecclesiastes says it this way: No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. He has set eternity in our hearts, but we cannot fathom what He has done from beginning to end.2

* * *

Maybe one point of remembering is to enjoy what we have while we have it. The Message Bible puts it this way, “Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over. Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.”3

And, when we get too old to enjoy life as much, it is great to have children around. Maybe it’s a good and okay thing to live vicariously through them every now and then as well. I can’t help but get caught up in their awe of things and I need a picture of those bright eyes to soften my own hardened and jaded gaze. The look of wonder in his eyes couldn’t help but bring back a little of my own.

And, when life as we know it ends, life better than we ever could have imagined can begin. I hope that my little friend eventually comes to know the person who died to secure a place for him in eternity. A place that is a thousand times better than being the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox could ever be.   It’s the place that his little eyes know he was made for. A place where wilder than the most wild of dreams comes true.

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