For many years Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay was at the top of his game. Fans and pundits alike agree that Halladay, a perennial Cy Young award contender has been one of the elite pitchers in baseball.
Every athlete who has the talent to compete at a professional level at some point has the very painful experience of “hitting a wall.” Sometimes it’s just part of the ups and downs of any career…something you need to ride through and hopefully learn from. But there is that point where the body through the natural aging process can no longer perform at the high level pro athletes have taken for granted since childhood.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. After his recent 7-2 loss to the Mets and a 0-2 start to the new season Halladay appeared not as the invincible warrior but a reeling prize fighter:
He’s groping. Like an aged world champion fighter who can’t accept reality. They can’t get out of the way of a punch anymore. Their feet don’t move when their mind wants it. And no one in baseball has had a stronger, more keen, diligent intellect when it comes to pitching, and pitching mechanics, than Halladay has over the last decade…Halladay has taken a pounding. Emotionally. Psychologically. He may be hurting. He’d never publicly admit it. It’s not in his nature to quit or question. http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/04/09/roy-halladay-has-the-look-of-a-shot-fighter
Halladay was philosophical and reflective at times during the post game press conference. Perhaps unwittingly, he revealed how deeply shaken he is by sharing that despite the challenges he is facing, there are more important things: “I got a text from my son saying that I am his hero”, Halladay said. “That means allot.”
Halladay may be reeling professionally and personally with the decline in his performance which began last season. But he rightly returns to the foundation of what is important in life and long after baseball ends…a loving relationship with his son and the foundation of family. This will serve as an anchor for him with the changes that he may face in the days ahead.
Most of us at some point in our lives can relate to what Halladay is going through. Maybe we have hit a similar wall in our lives after many years of success in our work, and we lose momentum, face a job loss, or another colleague gets that raise or promotion we had been hoping for.
For other men, the wall they hit is the realization that the previous ways they coped with emotional pain, grief and loss, by throwing themselves into work, drugs, alcohol, pornography or gambling to deal with those things they would just rather not deal with…are no longer working…and exacting a high price in their personal and professional lives.
Like Roy Halladay, sometimes we can’t avoid facing the pain and the loss. The things we have always used don’t work anymore and we either go down for the count, or hit the wall that leads to humility and reach out for the help we need. It can be hard for men to reach out for help. For a man who has had great success, who has felt in control of his game, at the top of their field, this can be especially challenging.
But you can’t find a door to the other side of that pain, and the strength and the courage to walk through that door and face what’s on the other side…without help from others who understand what you are going through, and can walk with you to recovery. This is especially true for men who have been part of an abortion decision, and lost a child to abortion.
The key is to see this time as not just “hitting a wall,” but also a golden opportunity to attend to those areas of the heart and soul that have been crying out for attention, for resolution and healing. For many men, a previous abortion loss can provide such an opportunity to find such resolution and peace from something that likely causes a secret shame and an elusive but ever-present grief.
I have seen many men come through healing programs for recovery from abortion loss and discover that while they had to face some painful stuff, they also discovered that they are now as a result of “walking through that door,” better men, better fathers and husbands. New possibilities have emerged in their personal and work lives. (If you have experienced abortion loss, you can find help here )
Just as Roy Halladay found great consolation in the love of his son during this time, fathers who have been part of an abortion decision can, with healing, discover a similar consolation. They find that while they may always regret their missed opportunities for lost fatherhood, they now have a spiritual relationship with their unborn son or daughter. With their hearts free to love that child now with the Lord, they find new meaning as they face the unavoidable changes and losses of this life.