Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity ?

December 21, 2006 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

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 (not expecting much) if Shay could
play. 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 and, with a
broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched
with 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 that the other team was 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
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. 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 first
baseman’s head, 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
run that far, but he 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 the base. By the
time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder
had the ball … the smallest guy on their team who now
had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He
could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the
tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he,
too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the
third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward third 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 third base because

the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning 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 the
spectators, were on their feet screaming, “Shay, run home!
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. He 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!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send
thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second
thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life
choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often
obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public
discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our
schools and workplaces.
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the
“natural order of things.” So many seemingly trivial
interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do
we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we
pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit
colder in the process?

Entry filed under: humanity, Love, Philosophy. Tags: .

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