Hey Coach! Mr. John Naples

 

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Photo used from John’s facebook profile.

Coaches are something special that most of America is fairly familiar with and most of the parents I know have a love-hate relationship with most of them. When a coach is great – it changes your life. A dedicated coach changes the future of so many lives the impact is only ever really known when we all get to heaven.

 

As a parent, my parenting journey was an unusual one of great loss. I have the privilege of parenting a large family but I also have walked in the path of great grief having lost multiple babies over a span of many of my parenting years. This post isn’t about that journey but it is vital you understand my thoughts.

When someone I love passes away I instantly feel like my babies in heaven gained someone I wanted them to know here on earth…. like we loved them, I know the person we grieve here can now hug and love on my babies. You see I am heartbroken and yet hopeful because of a reunion I anticipate. That reunion now means that my babies and the babies of my friends get one of the best coaches I know.

You see, after being in my shoes of such deep heartache I see normal choices differently. No parent copes the same, nor would I want them to. It is unique to each loss and yet similar in a bonding way but also when you have lost more than 4 pregnancies then you get to be in a small class of people that no one talks about (I like to say babies because all of my pregnancies were valued and life at one point.) We aren’t paranoid parents, but I also can’t bring myself to do all the trappings of huge sport commitments. ~ Again… no condemnation it just hasn’t worked for my family. (It’s been money, time, transportation and every issues in between.)

Honestly, I have never been able to put any of them in contact sports. I know – it sounds totally crazy. We have a son we co-parent and he had great success in baseball which we are incredibly proud of and are glad for. However it really isn’t a contact sport. (So they tell you!)

Regardless, I have adults in my children’s lives that I know play a “COACH” role. I completely believe in those roles for all of us. We need someone to do the unthinkable: To believe in us on our worst day, even when we let others down and still cheer us on as if we never faltered.

I have those people, and if we are honest you should too. We should all try to be loyal coaches to the people in our circles.

Coach – Mr. John Naples, is a coach in every aspect of his life because he was born with a unique comedic skill and love for life that translates into pushing others to enjoy life more when he is around. I am honored to know some of the stories. My husband and John worked together for several years and I know it changed my husbands life. How do I know? Ask anyone whose been encouraged to breath in life more deeply because of John. My husband has more stories with this friend than some people he knew almost his whole life, quite simply because John was a guy who dared to do anything for a laugh – dared to endure heartache to coach – who still cheered & rallied in his 40s for his high school alma matter – who didn’t back down from a fight for a friend even if it was foolish … a coach in life that backs you up.. because you are on his team when you are in his life.

He loved you because his calling in life was to love others. I don’t have enough words to tell those that didn’t know him how many places he poured his heart out.

I was honored to know that he saw the truest form of love not that long ago when he realized his life was worth Jesus’ sacrifice for him. John was so public about his struggles with his journey, his health and yet never stopped encouraging others with his transparency – his comedy – his coaching and his support of his friends and family.

If you have someone in your life that “coaches” you to be a better person, or to simply live life out loud … tell them you love them. Be on their “team” and pray for them as much as you laugh with them. The coaches in our midst are almost always wearing their hearts on their sleeves and needs you as much as you need them.

We will never be the same because of John. The stories will not end and we are praying for your friends and family. Grief is a new way of learning to live without someone we expected to journey with us.  We rest in the promise that God does heal the broken hearted. Until we meet again Coach –

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