“Use everything Baron, if you’re good at it do it. If you like it, love it. You have too many talents to let em’ go to waste and never forget that.”
That’s what Joyce Batch told me.
That’s what my mom would say.
Last week marked ten years since Joyce left this earth. It’s gone fast, but not a day goes by that I don’t lean on something simple she would say to me.
Simplicity is beautiful.
I remember looking out the window of our small trailer watching the clouds with my mom.
“Is heaven up there?” I recall asking.
Through a smile she would reply, “Haha yeah heaven is up there.”
“So one day will we be there?”
“Yup one day we will be there.” She would tell me.
Not completely understanding anything about the whole concept of heaven I was always inquisitive about the whole thing. One thing I did know about heaven was that there was supposed to be angels up there, and angels were good,
And angels helped people.
The movie Angels in the Outfield taught me that.
“So if you make it to heaven before me and become an angel do you promise to watch me?” I’d ask.
Joyce’s response was always the same.
Through her smile she would simply say,
“Of course I will.”
But that was a long time ago, so long ago that I’ve almost forgotten those innocent conversations.
However, things like that are good to remember. Conversations like that should never be forgotten.
Sometimes I forget things Joyce said altogether until I need them the most.
She still speaks to me, and through the words she left with me; she continues to watch after me. She continues to nurture.
And all too often her words fight on my behalf.
Maybe that’s why I love words so much? Maybe that’s why I have fallen madly in love with writing? Simply because I understand the power that words hold. They transcend time, and in many instances death itself.
Meaningful words live forever. Meaningful words will defend you and keep you safe when their creator is long gone.
And in the moments when you need them the most they are always close. A meaningful word is a armored brave knight riding a black stallion, yielding a shiny sword, and ready to defend you when you question just how brave you are.
My mom left me many meaningful words.
Joyce Batch left me with an army.
About three years ago right after I had finished my last collegiate football season I was waiting in the airport in Dallas and an older woman struck up a conversation with me.
She inquired what I did for a living. At this point in time I didn’t have a job so I said, “Well I just graduated from school.”
She then asked, “Well what’s your job?”
“Dang it. I guess I don’t have one.” I thought.
“Well I guess I’m looking for something.” I uncomfortably replied.
“So your unemployed?” She said.
Then it hit me, “Well yeah I guess I am ma’am. I’m unemployed. You could say that. ”
She then asked, “Well then, what exactly do you want to do with your life?”
I sat for a minute before answering. Then I responded to her and said,
“Well I like playing football so I will be a professional athlete, I like photography so I will be a photographer, I like to write so I’ll be a writer, I like to speak so I will be a speaker, I like to travel so I will be a traveler, and I like helping people so I’ll do that too. And anything else that I find myself become passionate about along the way, Ill do that as well.”
The woman looked at me with a cynical smile before saying something that I will never forget.
This woman looked me straight in the eyes and said,
“Haha that’s not how the real world works son, you cant just do everything that you like to do, or fancy.”
Feeling a bit belittled I unconfidently chuckled and said, “haha maybe you’re right.”
And at that moment an unseen army came to my defense in the form of my mother’s echoing words. With swords violently swinging they cut down the doubt that was spoken, trampling it into pieces with the heavy hooves of their black stallions. Behind me they stood bravely, and once again I knew that I was not on my own.
In the Dallas airport that day an unseen battle was won.
Last week while traveling back to Pittsburgh I sat in the same airport. I recalled the battle that took place 3 years ago that an army of brave Words had won. I reminisced over the last ten years, as I sketched things out in my notebook that I always keep close.
And once again a random conversation was struck.
While sketching out new ideas for new art while waiting on my plane, an older man in a suit leaned over and asked,
“What is it that you do for a living if you don’t mind me asking?”
And at that moment I had a flashback of appreciation for what God has done for me. At that moment I realized the strength of the army that defends me.
And with an unseen army behind me, I replied.
“Well sir, I like art so I’m an artist, I like to speak to I’m a speaker, I like to travel so I’m a traveler, I like to write to I’m a writer, I like photography so I’m a photographer, I like helping people so I help people, and I do anything else that I feel I will be good at or have a passion for.”
The man nodded his head smiling and said,
“Boy sounds like you’re livin life right! I’ve been trying to get my sons to have the same attitude. Your momma must be proud.”
“Thank you!” I said.
He then leaned in closer and whispered, “Aren’t you that football player too?”
“Haha yes I do that as well.” I laughingly replied.
“Proud parents! And a proud momma, thats for sure.” He said
“Thank you sir.” I once again replied.
People say that quite often to me, but this time was different. For the first time in quite a while I realized exactly just what Joyce Batch had done for me.
My mom gave me an army, a powerfully brave one. One that is quick to defend, and is as strong as I allow it to be.
“Yeah…. I bet she is…..” I replied to older gentleman.
10 years ago God called Joyce Batch home. At the time the boy who stared at the clouds imagining angels felt lonely. At the time I felt weak.
“If you get to heaven before me will you watch me?” Is what I would ask,
And now the answer to that question is all to clear.
“Yes of course I will.” I imagine my mom saying.
Joyce Batch left me meaningful words.
She left me a priceless gift.
She gave me something that would live much longer than she would.
It’s been ten years now, and time has flown by. And even though my mother is gone she still watches over me through her words.
Before my mom left this earth she gave me a gift that in turn I can hopefully pass down to others.
Ten years ago Joyce Batch left me with all her words.
Ten years ago my mom gave me an army.