This Post is Dedicated to Steve, Michel and Rivers Gleason: The Game of life they “play” is life-giving for all of us. . .
Last night, Hope and I drove to New Orleans, with her boyfriend, Landon to spend the evening opening the Holiday Season with the lighting of the lights at Harrods. Our inspiration for going was with the hope to see Steve Gleason, Michel Gleason and Rivers. Hope had made contact with them via email and they had been so engaging, we made the trip. (Yes, for us, things like this are the “up and overs”). While we had a wonderful dinner, outside with the magical Harrod’s snowfall every hour on the hour, (I had lobster mac and cheese!) we watched this family greet and take pictures for over an hour.
I wake this morning still blown away. This family, this young precious family has risen (goose bumps to my toes) way beyond their young years to touch lives with power most of us will never understand. I never had the privilege to see Steve play on the Saints football field: Basic info I can collect: Number 37. Safety/Special Teamer. Debuted in 2000 for the New Orleans Saints Football Team. Last played 2008 for the New Orleans Saints. Honorable Mention All-Pac-10, 1997. Games played 83. Solo tackles 59. Assisted tackles 6 (NFL.com) Steve is known for his blocked punt in a 2006 game that became a symbol of recovery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
I know enough about football to know it is field of freight trains bumping into each other with power that comes from within for a team win. Steve knows something about the “win” and the “tackle” and the “punt” I have no concept of. . .And every day of his life with ALS he fights for the win. Just being with him, you know immediately, he knowns team work. He is fighting on a new team now. Steve plays with the same passion and “keep your head in the game” mentality on a new field now, it’s a public field that has open dimensions, well beyond a football field. Just sitting next to him, Steve has all the playing power he had on the field, and he brings it into every effort he makes today. All of the power and press of this young man’s life is still there. It pours from his presence. And again, this young man and his family speak. . .Things are not as they appear. His plays are above the Saints Scoreboard, they are moving life for people he will probably never meet. He has inspired my daughter Hope with understanding, and now having met him and Michelle in person, I am a stronger person today. I cannot understand the dynamic, just chalk it up with deep gratitude to God for an unexpected gift of life!
Without knowing, he imparts strength in just showing up. (tears). I managed to thank him for all he does for “our fight.” God does have a sense of humor. . .I’m on the same playing field with a gifted #37 Safety and we are passing the ball. I’m glad he is tackling the disease and not me. I’d be squashed like a bug. I can tell you this, I’m deeply grieved for this young family’s struggle and pain. I’ve been praying all night for them. I’m also deeply, passionately, beyond words, so grateful Steve, and all that football strength of play, is on my playing field. So grateful, that Michel’s love solidifies his strength and Rivers moves mountains with his little life with them. In just one meeting: My sights are higher, my playing field is bigger, and my game is empowered into this fight for life. Words are so small. . .
Thank you for our new Gleason friends, for engaging us with such genuine warmth and goodness. I don’t know how you do the schedule you keep, but the investment you are making touches my life. It touches far beyond what we can see now with this disease. Our deepest, humble gratitude for your lives. You have made a difference for Hope in your engaging her part of this journey. We love you. tracey
Please visit and support this incredible family. . . http://www.teamgleason.org