Simple. Not Easy.

Just because something is simple does not make it easy. Think about it. In baseball, to go from a .250 (read: two fifty) hitter to a .300 (three hundred) hitter requires the player to get one more hit per week. If an average week includes six games, and each game brings the person to the plate three times, that’s roughly twenty at-bats in any given week. For math’s sake, let’s round up to twenty at-bats. To determine batting average, take the number of hits and divide by the number of at-bats. Thus, 5 hits divided by 20 at-bats would yield a .250 batting average. That means the player got one hit, on average, nearly every game that week – at least one hit per six games. Not a terrible average; good enough to play at the Major League level. Getting to the Baseball Hall of Fame level, however, is only slightly higher – and seemingly much more difficult.

If a player can end his career with a .300 batting average, or higher, he stands a very good chance of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That would mean, over the course of his playing career, week in and week out, he would have hit safely six times each week (or roughly one hit every game) rather than hitting safely five times every week (not quite one hit per game). Sounds simple enough – and it is – until you break it down a little bit more. Getting one more hit per week means getting one hit in every game, consistently. Maybe some nights, the player goes 0 for 3 but then the next night comes back with 2 hits out of 3 at-bats, or goes 3 for 3.

And keep in mind that the hardest thing to do in all of sports is to hit a round ball with a round bat. The sweet spot on the ball is roughly the size of a dime while the sweet spot on the bat is roughly the size of your little finger stretched out along the end of the bat. Those two spots have to connect – and send the ball to a place where no one is standing who can then catch it or throw out the guy running to first base. Simple. Not easy. The ball is coming toward the batter at nearly 100 miles per hour, taking approximately one-half of a second to get from the pitcher’s mound to the batter (that’s “one-one” of the standard way of counting a second: “one-one thousand”). The ball is curving in or out, up or down, twisting clockwise, or counter-clockwise, into an area about the size of a travel-on suitcase. And the batter has less than one-half of a second to twist his hips, extend his arms, roll his wrists and do his best to connect the two sweet spots. How hard could that be, right? Plenty hard. Simple does not make it easy.

To mend a broken relationship all it takes is for both parties to admit fault, express sorrow and ask for forgiveness – maybe even a commitment to do something else in the future, to change direction or use new words. Then, each offers the other such forgiveness and usually some sign of reconciliation like a hug, maybe accompanied by tears. Simple, but far from easy. I have known people estranged from others in their family for decades because of some unresolved hurt. I often tell people that any conversation can be re-visited and new words spoken. If communication broke down, that’s okay, not the end of the world. Just come back and say, “I’d like to add more to our conversation. I didn’t like how that ended. I don’t want to be separated from you.” Undoubtedly, depending on the circumstances, this could be a very difficult task, no matter how simple the actual words or activity might indicate. Simple does not mean easy.

As in baseball, so too in life. Progress, not perfection, is the rule. Little steps made consistently are what matter. Not many conversations are completely over. Nothing is so broken that it can’t be fixed, especially in relationships. NOTE: by “fixed” I do not mean “made perfect.” Some things may never be normal again and in fact people may remain separated. But the anger, resentment, fear, and disappointment can all be released, thus releasing others to move on with life. Progress, not perfection. That’s the baseball way…and it seems to be pretty a good life philosophy.

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