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Josh Pastner sent a letter to every division 1,2, and 3 basketball coach…hand written, asking them to allow him to be a walk on (non scholarship) player so that he could learn from them and jump start his dream of being an NCAA head coach.  Arizona’s Lute Olsen was the only one to oblige.  They won the national title that year.  Josh earned his degree in 2 1/2 years taking as many as 33 credits per semester.  As his four years as an “undergrad” came to an end he had earned not only his undergrad degree but 2 Masters degrees.  He was then promoted to graduate assistant coach and began working on his doctorate.

He is now the head coach of Memphis University Tigers and answers the very cliche’ question “Do you see the glass as half full or half empty” in a very non-cliche way.  “It’s overflowing” is his response.  He explains that he has the word “Gratitude” above his doorway to his office.  Quite an interesting take for such a self made man.

It lead me to think that as a coach I don’t always see my cup as “overflowing.”  In fact, I’m quite good at pointing out where I could find room for some more “fluid” for my coaching cup.  As I tend to do, I can even beat myself up for my lack of determination and grit as a coach, let alone my “attitude of gratitude.”  Then, something occurred to me.

One of my frustrations with this time period of our life (since Trey’s diagnosis) is that I cannot communicate to everyone who I wish to thank.  The most common are people in the media.  I so very much would like to tell them (many of them), “Look, my son has terminal cancer.  You made me laugh today, really really  hard.  Thank you.  When you wake up at 4:00 a.m. and think that your job is stupid and pointless, realize that you helped the dad of a kid dying with cancer (yes, faithfully and hopefully not) get through the day.”  I have tweeted messages to a couple of radio hosts as an experiment and have no clue if they’ve read or even received them.

Given our calling for this time in our lives we have used it as much as possible to bless others and use it as a platform to value others where I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have otherwise.  There are times when we had to accept help just to get through a day.  In those times it is very very easy to thank people.  I guess it kind of just conditioned us to say “thank you” quite a bit.  Yet, lately, I have begun to be thankful for almost everything.

Mind you, the inner (and I mean waaaaaay inner) joke here is that my entire life my mother ALWAYS ALWAYS would say to me, “Did you say ‘Thank You’?”  I would tell her how I told the person who gave me the gift how awesome it was or how much I appreciated what someone did for me and she would again ask, “Did you say, ‘Thank You’?”  Well mom, now I do.

As it is, we are so very grateful.  Not just for every day that Trey is with us.  Not just for the very precious gift of life for each one of us.  Not just for the fact that we have had the prayers, love and support from thousands of you.  Not for the special moments that we would have in no way even noticed before his diagnosis.  No, we are grateful for just about everything.  We are grateful for all things as we have seen God do great and mighty things through this trial.  He really is in control.  We are grateful that He provides us with so many opportunities to bless others by (yes mom) being thankful.  I’m even grateful that I had a bit of a pity party for myself (not even Trey related) the other day.  It caused me to refocus on what I am to be doing and appreciate how God is using this trying time.  I was left…you guessed it, grateful.

I am aware that 1 Thes 5:18 encourages us to be thankful in all things.  Now, we have experienced that it is so freeing to be grateful.

The elephant in the room is…are we grateful that Trey has cancer (c’mon, you know I knew you were thinking it)?  Certainly I can’t say that.  However, given that he does, we are very grateful for everything that has come through it and are in awe of all that He has done through it.

Now, if I had a 6’7″ left handed setting foreign exchange student from Puerto Rico I would be even more grateful as a coach…until then.  Thank you.

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