My pilot friend and I flew into Chicago Midway Airport to attend one of the games of the World Series at Wrigley Field. He’s a Cubs fan and I am an Indians fan thus the flight was a full of debate and goodnatured ribbing from both of us. My friend always comes to my rescue when my heart needs lifting and affirmation; being battered and bruised these days.
Between running and my adopted brother pilot, my psyche slowing getting back to where it needs to be. My academic work heavier than ever; my seminary work a constant challenge; my heart hurt because I was devalued and continue to be devalued by a person who means much to me. I saw him briefly at an event a couple of days ago, the hurt on my part still there; him, looks well which is all I wish for him. I should be able to say “screw him” but that’s not in my vocabulary. I am not angry or vindictive but simply hurt because of the cruel nature of someone I misjudged. I simply put my hurt into my work; giving my patients and my research my full attention.
As I prepare to fly to Singapore, I have made infinite check lists to be sure that I don’t leave anything behind or forget to say goodbye to anyone. I look forward to striking out on this adventure of discovery; pushing myself mentally and physically to embrace a new culture and run this city of diverse people. My experiences with the Far East, except for the Koreans who are amazingly racist, have been cultures of welcoming and interest in my complex work. Except for the time I spent in Seoul where I was essentially treated as a servant, I have been welcomed and embraced in Hong Kong as a fellow scientist and academic.
If my actor friend had not been in production, I would have encouraged him to fly with me to Chicago for the World Series Game 3. He has just enough “pluck” to enjoy a flight over to the city in a Cirrus 22 with a couple of pilot friends who love baseball. I suspect that he might have sided with me in terms of being an Indians fan but I am not sure. What I am sure of is that he gave a great performance as he is a fabulous actor. I also believe he is a soul who is capable of enjoying some of the adventures that I find interesting; someone to share experiences and shared experiences so far.
My Pop was a complete college football fan loving the University of Alabama Crimson Tide most of all. That love of the Tide was passed down to me but I appreciate baseball on all levels. When I was a resident, my surgery team at the Veterans Hospital would often attend the minor league games; cheap evening of beer, hot dogs and scrappy baseball. This translated into my enjoying the major league experience at the ball park; appreciating the difficulty and challenges of baseball. Now, I follow the local teams (major and minor leagues) as they seek the championship ; enjoying the experience of a warm summer evening at the ballpark.
My World Series experience was gut-wrenching as my team score only one run. It turns out that one run was enough to win the game. Wrigley Field was fun as I was surrounded by rowdy Cubs fans who respected that I was rooting for the other team. The Cubs fans could not have been nicer even as the beer flowed; the requisite “trash talk” and ribbing but the Cubs are a great team that have the ability to come back and win the World Series.
My pilot friend was ready to protect me if need be as he always protects me and my heart. I can’t express how much it meant to me that he would stop in; pick me up and fly me to Chicago for a World Series game. He senses that I need to fly when I need to fly most. This is why we are friends for the rest of our lives; a friendship that began when we were astronaut candidates at the Johnson Space Center many years ago. He’s a true gift for my jaded heart.
He values me as a scientist, a physician and a human being even though we couldn’t be more different. We have always had a friendship that has weathered some life changes on my part while my pilot friend has a strong marriage, raised two incredible children and thrived as an engineer/pilot for a major corporation. He’s a great human being with a strange adventuresome female surgeon friend who keeps getting her heart broken. He’s been there to encourage me to keep trying but he’s ready to tell me when someone is not right for me (he’s right). That’s my World Series experience right now. I am grateful for his enduring friendship when I need it most.