Last weekend, my oldest son and I watched Field of Dreams. I've seen it, or pieces of it, probably ten times or so over the years. It's a pretty magical movie, and the last 15 minutes usually leave me a teary-eyed mess of blubber for a little while afterward.
One of the central themes to the movie is the idea of making dreams come true. In one part, the main characters meet an old man named Archie Graham, who got to play one game of major league baseball but never got up to bat. Archie's dream went unfulfilled, and while he lived a very satisfying and amazing life he still spent time wishing that he had just one more chance to get a hit.
That got me thinking about the idea of "just one more." We hear or see "just one more" in a lot of different places. Country songs talk about having "one more day with you"; Luther Vandross sang about one more dance with his Father, and Archie Graham pined to stare down a major league pitcher just once. On their deathbeds, people talk about the "one that got away" or their need for just one more kiss, one more night, one more sunset to watch with their loved ones. And when that fails, they sometimes fall to their knees and pray to their God to give them one more chance.
Just one more. It doesn't really seem like we're asking for too much, does it? But the problem with asking to receive "just one more" is that in order to receive it, someone else often has to give it. To get one more kiss, your lover must be there to give it to you. To get just one more dance with your Father, your Father has to be there to dance with you. And to get just one more chance to to stare down the pitcher, the pitcher has to have the ball and the other players need to let you in the batter's box. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. We simply cannot control whether or not we get "just one more" anything.
But we can control how many "just one more"s we give to other people.
And in doing so, we can help them live a life of fullness with fewer thoughts about what they could have been if they had only had "just one more" of something. We can give just one more dollar to a charity, we can hold just one more door open for a stranger, we can give just one more smile to a passerby. We can give just one more of a lot of things that can make a remarkable difference in someone's day, week, or life. The power of giving just one more is very striking.
But think about the power of giving "just one more" to your family. Sometimes as a parent, I feel completely overwhelmed. The demands on my time, my energy, and my engagement are significant, leaving little for me and often even less for my partner. We strive for balance and often achieve it for a time, which is wonderful for all of us. But my kids need me, and I do just about everything I can to answer that need because I know that the less I respond, the less likely they are to keep asking. The last think I want to do is alienate or isolate my children, especially when my reasons for saying "no" are because I feel like I have been stretched to my limit. When I am in a good place, there is always a little more I can give to them, to myself, to my partner. It doesn't have to be a lot, it doesn't have to be earth shattering. But it doesn't need to be. My kids aren't asking for the moon, they are asking for just one more. Can't we find a way to give just one more?
Can't I read just one more bedtime story?
Can't I watch just one more episode of their favorite TV show?
Can't I play an imagination game just one more time, for one more minute?
Can't I drop what I am doing and respond to them just one minute, or even one second, quicker?
Can't I make just one more glass of chocolate milk at midnight?
Can't I give them just one more hug, one more laugh, one more tickle or playful growl?
Can't I come up with just one more smile?
Can't I find a way to say "yes" just one more time?
Can't I throw them in the pool just one more time?
Can't I show weakness, happiness, honesty, kindness, and fallibility just a little more often?
Can't I spend just one more quarter at the bubblegum machine?
Can't I leave work just one minute earlier so I can get home that much faster?
Can't I read just one less website or play just one less game so I can spend just one more minute with them?
Can't I look into my partner's eyes with consuming love just one more time a day?
Can't I say "thank you" and demonstrate my gratitude just one more time?
Of course the answer to all of these is "yes"; I can do just one more, of all of these and a thousand other things. I simply have to choose to do so.
You may feel like you have nothing else to give, like your emotional bank reserves are drained far too low to give anything more than you already do. That may be true. But take a step back and consider this: don't you feel better when you give to someone without condition or expectation, simply because you know that it will make them feel good? Of course you do; we all do. So rather than "just one more" being a challenge that further drains your reserves, it actually repairs and replenishes your heart and spirit to see such good feelings come of your gift. It may seem hard, even impossible, perhaps overwhelming. But it's just one more, and it will make you feel better.
By giving just one more, your children will know that they are understood, respected, and loved - and that they are worth the extra effort. Their needs will be met and their hearts will be opened to the possibilities of giving. They will know the benefits of giving because they have received. It's just one more, after all.
But sometimes, just one more makes all the difference in the world.