By Del Duduit
Sometimes tragedy can spark inspiration.
A horrific event can spawn imagination, and it can also force you to take inventory of yourself.
The awful events of Sept. 11, 2001, made it a dark day for America. Thousands of people died in New York City when the Twin Towers fell to the ground. Forty-four more souls met their fate when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Somerset, Pennsylvania, with heroes on board, while 184 more perished when a plane smacked into the Pentagon on that dreadful day.
The fallout continued in many ways for years.
Jim Anderson worked for a company based out of NYC that went out of business because of the circumstances.
“Here I was a new dad, no job, the world in chaos, everything turned upside down,” he told me when we met outside the locker room entrance for the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Field, home of the Pirates’ spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida.
I was there to meet up with Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle for a bit when Jim and I struck up a conversation. He was displaying his baseball bats for the professional players to see in hopes of a sale or two.
After 9/11, Jim decided to go out on his own and follow his heart.
He was always a “woodworker” and a baseball player. He enjoyed the times when he was a bat boy for his hometown teams. When his son came along, he wanted to commemorate the birth in a unique way.
He made a baseball bat with his son’s name, Max, as the logo.
“It was a leap of faith. I was meant to do this.”
He used the bats in some of his amateur games, and it caught on. Soon he made more for friends, and making bats became a hobby.
“I decided to take a chance and do something for myself,” he said. “Some people thought I was crazy, but I had to do this.”
He made a few more bats and contacted the MLB for information on how to distribute, and soon he was in business.
That was 17 years ago, and MAXbats is doing just fine. He’s making a living and enjoying his life. He is the vice president and director of sales for his company.
“It was a leap of faith,” Jim said. “I was meant to do this.”
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I relate to Jim because I have also decided to follow my ambitions with my writing ministry.
But I did not have a tragic event persuade me to pursue my ambitions. I just complained I had nothing to do for several years until my wife told me to change my situation. God agreed.
People, in general, become caught up in the desire to acquire the perfect life and sometimes lose focus on what might make them happy. If you love the corporate world, that’s great. There is nothing wrong with providing a great living for your family. I just needed to do something to fulfill a desire from within to do more. To try to inspire and introduce the ways of Christ to my readers was my goal.
Right now, my writing is a hobby, and I believe I can make it a full-time gig within a reasonable amount of time. My first book, Buckeye Believer, will be out soon with another right behind this fall.
Jim is doing what he is called to do in life. But it took a spectacular event to prompt him to move forward and out of his comfort zone.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
COLOSSIANS 3: 23-24
As a follower of Christ, you are not supposed to sit around and do nothing. You are meant to do something great for God.
What will it take for you to move?
Some people sing, visit, encourage, preach or even write.
I am so glad I met Jim and heard his amazing story of how he chased his dreams. His decision came at the right time for him and his son. There is so much more to his story than I have told. But he loves to make the bats and he gets to talk with MLB players at the same time. Sounds tough, but I know he’s having a blast.
There is never a wrong time to make the decision to find peace.
There is never a wrong time to take a chance when you know it’s right.
And there is never a wrong time to trust God.
The only mistake you can make is to ignore the call of the Lord and watch your dreams fade.
I love Jim’s story and how his intention was to honor his son. But when he went a little further, he found his purpose.
Find yours. Do what the song by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound instructs; “Step into the water, wade out a little bit deeper.”
You don’t have to experience a tragedy like 9/11, but don’t wait for that bolt of lightning to come out of the sky — or in this case — someone to smack you over the head with a new wooden baseball bat either.
Do something for God while you can! Working to further the Kingdom of Christ can be more thrilling than blasting a grand slam with a brand new bat. Although that would be pretty cool too.
Let me know what has inspired you on your journey.
Thanks Jim for talking to me, and let me know if you need a salesman in Ohio — LOL.
You can find out more information on MAXbat by going to this website: www.maxbats.com
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.