Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
The “Green Monster” may never be the same.
The corridors of character of Coors Field will never be the same.
And the lives which Keli Scott McGregor touched while here on earth amongst us, also will never be the same. Keli was the President of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club—but that was simply a role from which he did so very much more.
“Hi, Scott.” I recognized Tom’s voice on the other end of the line this past Tuesday. “I thought you would want to know,” his voice paused, unsteady and unsure just how to continue, “they found Keli McGregor today in his room in Salt Lake City—and were unable to revive him. He’s gone.” A dear and trusted friend for over twenty-two years—I found myself silent. I found myself asking “Why?”
Nathan and I were blessed to attend the memorial service yesterday for Keli McGregor at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, where Clint Hurdle, former manager of the Rockies and current hitting coach with the Texas Rangers, shared that when he heard this past Tuesday of Keli’s passing he was in the visitor’s clubhouse of Fenway Park in Boston, and immediately walked out to the Green Monster—the nickname of the left field wall at Fenway Park. Keli was his friend and through his time and influence had helped Clint to turn his life around, and for the first time in his life begin to embrace seriously and in a Godly way his roles as a husband and father.
And so standing there in front of that famed Green Monster he wept for thirty minutes with the news of his friend’s death. An overwhelming “gut check” as to the important things in life, he remembered thinking.
The sudden and unexpected passing by natural causes, left many wondering why? Forty-eight years old, in great physical condition, with degrees in Microbiology from Colorado State University and Sports Administration from the University of Florida, a beloved husband, father to four precious children, a friend to so many, community leader, respected, admired and appreciated throughout baseball and in the sports and business worlds, an encourager to everyone he knew and met, and who just happened to be President of the Colorado Rockies. I’m not sure that we will ever be able to understand or answer the question “why?” on this side of Heaven.
But as Clint Hurdle pointed out, maybe the question is not “Why?” but instead “What now?” What now can we learn from the life of Keli Scott McGregor that will make our lives and the lives of others better? What is the impact that we were meant to have now, and in the days to come, in the lives of the people around us and beyond in whatever time we are given in this life? What do we need to be about now, in the time we have left?
What now? Perhaps to remember, as another speaker shared yesterday through the palpable grief of the moment, the words in Hebrews of the promise of God, that no matter what we are going through, no matter what we face, He says to us… “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
What now? Perhaps to embrace the words of Solomon found in the Book of Proverbs at verses 3: 5-6, read yesterday by former Rockies’ owner, Jerry McMorris, which remind us to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Keli’s seventeen-year-old daughter Taylor began to close our time together yesterday by telling those gathered that the quote by Muhammad Ali was one of many her Daddy had put on the wall of the training facility within the stadium. He worked out there almost every day and even brought Taylor there with him this past Christmas day so they could work out together.
For Taylor’s Daddy the battle was always about preparation, but never simply about winning or losing. It was about the journey along the way—the relationships developed, the lives made better, the eternal impact and difference your life makes in just one other. And for her Daddy it was all about trusting God. For Keli Scott McGregor the victory began in a relationship with Jesus Christ—that’s where the eternal victory of our lives was assured. All the rest, all the battles, all the games, challenges and opportunities flowed out of that relationship.
What now? In lives like ours where our time here in this life is so small compared to the life hereafter—where we spend eternity is important. Taylor closed the services for her Daddy by reminding us all that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the assurance of an eternal relationship with Him in Heaven—after our time here, whether it is forty-eight years like her Daddy or more or less.
Where do you stand in your relationship with Jesus Christ?
Keli McGregor would care.
In His Name—Scott