For Ernie Johnson, Sr. – legendary baseball player and sports broadcaster – life’s most special moments were symbolized by a blackberry bush at one of his 8-year-old son’s Little League games.
The game was momentarily postponed when two of the outfielders got sidetracked. While looking for a ball that had gone over the fence, they discovered a blackberry bush and immediately forgot all about the ball, their teammates, and the game that was in progress.
Ernie loved baseball. He had spent his life around the game. But he was also a father. He was tickled that a baseball game had to be delayed because the children were more interested in a bush of mouth-watering blackberries.
That’s become something of a philosophy of life shared by Ernie Johnson, Sr.’s son, Ernie, Jr. – an award-winning sportscaster for CBS and Turner Sports.
Ernie, Jr. believes we may not see the delicious blackberries God puts into our lives unless we step outside of our normal responsibilities and become attentive to what’s happening around us. Intensity of focus is a great strength … until it becomes tunnel vision. We can be so driven and work so hard that we miss life’s most important blessings along the way.
Ernie, Jr. and his wife, Cheryl, had a blackberry moment of their own while watching a news program profiling the humanitarian crisis that followed the Ceausescu revolution and subsequent overthrow. The news report detailed the plight of orphans in Romania.
Cheryl told Ernie, “I strongly feel that we need to adopt one of these children.”
A few months later, at the very first orphanage Cheryl visited, she called Ernie. “I met a little boy,” she said. “He’s so much more than we can handle. He can’t walk. He can’t talk. He’s almost three years old and has never been outside, except for the day they found him abandoned in a park.”
The nurse who handed the boy to Cheryl said in broken English, “Boy is no good. Do not take.”
But Cheryl told Ernie, “I don’t know if I can spend the rest of my life wondering what will happen to this boy if I leave him in this Romanian orphanage.”
Ernie told her, “Well, bring him home.”
On our broadcast today and tomorrow, “Trusting God in All Things,” Ernie Johnson, Jr. will share about his television career, his family, and his journey of faith. He’ll talk about how he’s learned to look for God’s blackberry moments and will explain why their adopted son, Michael, was invited to join his high school basketball team, not despite his struggle with Muscular Dystrophy, but because of it. It’s an inspiring story you won’t want to miss.
Hear it all on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. He also tells his story in the book he’s written titled “Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments that Make Life Extraordinary.”
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