The Word — Finding your ‘one’

Published 8:30 am Sunday, January 23, 2022

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” — Jackie Robinson.

Has anyone ever left a strong impact on your life? Children often meet someone who impresses them so powerfully that they desire to make that person their idol and hero and look up to them full force. For young Konrad Reuland that person of impact was Rod Carew.

Konrad grew up as a highly energetic boy who was into all kinds of sports. When he was 11 years old, Carew came to his grade school. Konrads mother, Mary Reuland, remembers her son running to the car that day full of excitement because he had met a professional athlete. Carew was the 1967 Rookie of the year, made the All-Star team 18 consecutive seasons, was the 1977 American League MVP, 7 batting titles, and was elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Meeting Rod Carew put a vision and a hope into Konrad to one day become a professional athlete. Focusing more on football he would attend both Notre Dame and Stanford (two years each) to play tight end. In 2012 his dream came true and although undrafted, he was picked up by the Jets and his professional career took off.

Carew had made such an impact on this young man and may not have even been aware. Konrad Reuland was on cloud nine —until an injury in 2013. This injury would keep him from ever playing in the NFL again. He worked and rehabbed and had gotten back into the best shape ever…but teams were afraid to take a chance. Then in 2016, just days after Thanksgiving, with extreme headaches, Konrad goes to the doctor swhere they discover an aneurysm.

Worse comes to worse when the aneurysm bursts and after 17 hours of surgery, he never regains consciousness. On Dec. 12, 2016, Konrad Reuland dies at the age of 29. Just a few years before, Konrad had decided to become an organ donor and one of the individuals he was able to help save was an elderly man in need of a heart. Konrads family desired to meet this individual who had received their sons’ heart. Protocol required a one year wait and when the day finally came to meet the recipient of their sons 29 year old heart — it was none other than Hall of Famer, Rod Carew.

Upon hearing the full story, Carew said, “Now we are one.” The one who had made the impact was now impacted by his one. Imagine if you could impact just one person. Who, in your life, could you impact and bring closer to Jesus? Pray for your one.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail. com.