Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A beautiful story about a beautiful boy.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled
children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would
never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its
dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is
done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other
children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the
natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The! father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically
and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize
true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people
treat that child. "Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were
playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's
father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their
team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play,
it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to
be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay
could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and
said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I
guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth
inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad
smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart.
The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of
the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by
three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in
the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously
ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear
as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth
inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded,
the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at
bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win
the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit
was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat
properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up! to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the
other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a
few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make
contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The
pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards
Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground
ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and
could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have
been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first
baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both
teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his
life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered
down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled!

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and
struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards
second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their
team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He
could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball
high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward second base
deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned
him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run
to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those
watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to
home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand
slam" and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the
boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into
this world.

Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never
forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and
seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

1 comment:

Jordan Harlow said...

Wow, that is beautiful. It is amazing how kindness spreads. It is amazing how God can do something like that. I just don't know what else to say... It is truly amazing, I am sorry I made you to think I ignored this story. Not saying I am not sorry for the other reasons, I was just emphasizing that apology after reading the story.