FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF HERNDON

Where are you going?

Linda Soller | Apr 25, 2016


He stood on stage in front of six hundred people and told the story of his life thus far. He was modest, sincere, and inspiring. As a child coming from a very difficult family situation, he never dreamed he would ever speak to groups like this. Actually he didn’t speak much at all for fear of his father. Now here he was, being paid to tell people to keep dreaming. As a young teen he was sent to live with his grandparents in Texas. It literally changed his life. Any of this sounding familiar? Well the person is Jim Morris, who you might know as the oldest Rookie, in the Disney film. If you haven’t seen the film, and I have not but fully intend to, you may have read the book by the same title. Jim’s grandparents offered him a nurturing Christian home which was the total opposite of the one he had shared with his parents.

The one common thread throughout his life had been his love of baseball. From an early age he had planned to grow up to be a pitcher in the big leagues. Life happened and he found himself coaching a not too successful high school team. He challenged the players to dream big, and they in turn said they would if he did. Well I don’t want to spoil the movie. As inspiring as the big story was and continues to be, what really touched the audience this particular day were his stories of life with his grandparents.

His grandfather was known far and wide. He was a strong Christian and he lived his faith. People respected and admired him because of the way he lived, not because of his money, or power, or any other worldly recognition. Jim changed inside and out while living with his grandparents, and he recited multiple life lessons he gained from his grandfather. When Jim was eighteen, and thought he knew it all, he learned his grandfather was very ill and would soon die. Within months he saw his grandfather go from robust, to a walker, to a wheelchair, and eventually to a fetal position in a bed. One day he looked over at his grandfather sitting in his wheelchair and stated it was not fair that God had picked his grandfather to suffer and die this way. With all the strength he could muster, his grandfather turned his head and looked at Jim. He said slowly and clearly, “Son I have spent my whole life getting ready for where I am going. Where are you going?”

Jim could not answer that question then, but he can now. Life continued to happen to Jim and while he gained fame and notoriety, he has found new dreams. He loves his family and loves speaking. Jim now has Parkinson’s disease. Like his grandfather before him, Jim’s illness came when he was still considered young. He no longer teaches in the school, but teaches the people he encounters each day, wherever he goes.

I purchased his book the next day and the lady said, “Jim was too tired for a book signing, but he asked if he could sign book plates for the people who picked up a copy, would you like one?” “Yes,” was my immediate response. On the book plate he simply wrote, “God Bless, Jim Morris, the Rookie.” A simple message that will have meaning long after the man is gone. Where are you going?

God Bless, and Have a great week!    :o)  Linda

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