Thursday, October 20, 2016
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu
When we lived in Boston while I was going to seminary, I was a very busy boy. I was the pastor of a small church in Stoneham, Massachusetts, about fifteen miles north of Boston, a full-time graduate student, a part-time teacher (two classes a week of English for international doctoral students), a full-time husband and father, and I worked on a half-hour television show called “Perspectives: Faith in Our Time” shot and produced at the Boston University School of Theology. I also had to walk a mile to the commuter railway station every morning to catch the train to Boston and then transfer to the subway (the “T”) to ride out to the School of Theology (took about an hour and a half every day—one way). On an average week, I would put in 100 to 120 hours with little left over to attend my youngest son’s Little League games or to be there for my middle son with his problems at school or to help my wife who was having serious problems with the lack of sunlight in the winter. Pushed to the edge by my schedule and commitments, I was sometimes depressed and unsettled—bad for someone with a triple major in theology, philosophy, and ethics.
One day, early in the afternoon, I was sitting on the steps of Marsh Chapel with my head in my hands wondering how I could go on. My friend, Ken Child (who recently passed away) saw me, came over, sat down next to me, put his arm around me, and asked what was wrong. He didn’t wait for an answer but said he was pretty sure he knew of something that would help. He made me get up and follow him to the Dean’s Office. When we got there, we went in to see the Dean, and Ken asked if anyone was using the tickets that day. It turns out that the School of Theology had season tickets to the Red Sox games at Fenway Park for the big givers and VIP’s who came around. If no one was using them, they just sat in the desk. The dean said no one had them that day and there was a game. The dean, Dr. Robert Neville, handed me a ticket (just behind third base next to the Green Monster) and told me to check every time there was an afternoon game. I thanked Ken profusely and walked the six blocks down to Fenway Park and spent the afternoon watching my favorite baseball team in action. It turned my life around. Over the next four years, I watched many afternoon games, by myself, but receiving the best therapy going for what was ailing me. I will never forget those games, the kindness of Dean Neville, or the friendship of Ken Child who did indeed know just exactly what I needed. I hope all people have a Ken Child in their life to smile at them and encourage them and give them a reason to smile back at the world. God bless him and all like him.