This past weekend, my family went to the annual Kansas City Royals Fan Fest. Its a great event and it is well attended every year. As we spent our time at Fan Fest, there were a multitude of sights, sounds, and activities. There were Royals players giving autographs, if you were willing to wait in long lines. There were batting cages and pitching exercises. There was a mini sized field where kids could play whiffle ball. There was tons of memorabilia and photo ops. There was even ballpark food (at ballpark prices!). Everything a fan could want.
As we were driving home, we discussed what stood out to us the most. The players autographs? Nope. The games and activities? Nope. For every one of us, the answer was the same: the Yordano Ventura memorial.
Ventura was a young and talented pitcher for the Royals. He had so much talent, he was given the nickname “Ace Ventura.” Sadly, he died recently in a car accident while in his native home of the Dominican Republic. As a tribute, one area of Fan fest was designated as a memorial to Ventura. They created a real pitchers mound with dirt from the “K.” His jersey was displayed on the mound. There were video tributes playing along with several flower arrangements. There were portions of a fan made tribute. And they had areas where fans could sign and write notes to Ventura. It was a moving tribute. We all talked about how you could feel the weight of it all the moment you entered the tribute area.
It reminded me once again that some of our most meaningful experiences happen in some of our most difficult times. Maybe it is a new relationship that is forged through the trial. Perhaps a newfound appreciation. Maybe a new understanding.
I wish I could pray that none of us would ever go through struggle, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, I pray that even your struggles may be meaningful experiences for you.