May 6: A Knuckleballer’s Heart

When Queens, New York, resident Mike Gitelson was diagnosed with acute myeloid anemia in 2011, treatment required heavy doses of chemotherapy.  His wife, Eileen Lopez, asked a friend with connections to the Mets if he could get a team member to call Mike, who was a diehard fan.  The caller would be All-Star knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey.

Dickey invited the couple to a Mets game in June.  They got a tour of Citi Field—and conversation time as well.   As reported by Wayne Coffey in the Daily News, “[Gitelson] liked that Dickey said he’d pray for him, and even though Gitelson was not at all religious, he was open to people praying for him.”

Said Dickey: “He was having some trouble, and I just tried to engage with him. I wanted to be in the moment with him.”

Mike Gitelson died in March 2012 at age 40.  He was buried wearing an R.A. Dickey shirt because, as Eileen, said, “R.A. brought him so much joy.”

When you spend time with a person who’s suffering, be in the moment with them.  That simple act can produce a lot of joy.

Comfort My people, says your God.  (Isaiah 40:1)

Help me truly listen to others, Divine Savior.

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