Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ants Are Worthwhile ...

A baseball game and an ant worked together to teach me a valuable lesson during the summer of 1952. The game was between Beaumont Motor Company and Mid-City Motors. I played outfield for Beaumont Motors. Our team was batting. We were ahead 16 to 2 in the fifth inning. We could have ended the game at that point using the 10-run rule. However, both teams wanted to keep playing so we kept playing.

I was sitting in the dugout awaiting my turn to bat. Since the game really wasn’t that interesting, my mind began to wander. Looking down on the concrete floor of the dugout I saw a baseball. An ant was on the baseball just running around. I picked up the ball and watched the ant. The little fellow was running lickety-split as fast as his six little legs could carry him. However, since the ant was running on a baseball, he wasn’t going anywhere. Just running in circles. Seemingly the ant did not realize he wasn’t going anywhere. But still he was in a hurry to keep moving.

Didn’t give it much more thought at the time. But now as an adult my mind periodically reflects on that ant. I wonder if he ever got to where he was going. My thinking is that the ant did not know where he was going but he was in a frenzy to get someplace other than where he was.

Reminds me of rush hour traffic. Here we are living on earth. An orb. A giant baseball as it were. We are always in a rush. Always in a hurry to go somewhere. Every morning when I drive on the highway to get to work I see thousands of automobiles. Each driver is rushing to reach his respective destination. Some of these drivers are filled with road rage because the other drivers are in their paths. What is interesting is that in the afternoons, I see these same cars all in a panic to get back home.

Do you think that if we could see ourselves from a vantage point high above the earth that we would appear to be just speeding here and there? Kind of like an ant on a baseball. Running fast to get someplace? We think we’re going somewhere but do we really know?

Perhaps we know our destinations for a particular day. But what about our destinations in life? Do we know where we are going? We were born and we are going to live until we die. We have a path to travel. That path is located between birth and death. The paths we take and the decisions we make will determine our destinies.

What are our goals? Why do we rush up and down the highways everyday trying to get someplace as fast as possible? Are our purposes in life firmly situated in our minds?

When I was in the dugout that afternoon watching the ant on the ball, my thoughts were interrupted by my coach when he yelled, “Hamby, it’s your bat. Pay attention and get up to the plate.” I went to the batter’s box. The pitcher pitched. I hit a single and moments later scored when Ronny Walker hit a homerun. I remember Ronny’s homerun hit on the roof of a house all the way across Maddox Street.

So what is the lesson? Pay attention. Face reality. Live one day at a time but know where you are headed and why. Don’t just run around in circles blindly with no purpose in mind.

That little ant never realized what an important lesson he taught to me that day.

Winston Hamby