I must put this down to my mood, because I don’t usually indulge sentimentality for sentimentality’s sake. The following article which I’m about to share with you comes from one of my regular magazines which deals with life and spirituality. In this instance, it is irrelevant whether the story is true or not. What matters is how it reaches deep into our consciousness and stirs the right emotions to help infuse us with motivation to help others. If you enjoy what you read, please feel free to pass this on to those who you may feel will benefit from the experience. The following is typed almost word for word. Enjoy!
“At a special fundraising dinner for an American 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 added:
“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. 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 physically and mentally handicapped child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realise true human nature presents itself. It comes in the way other people treat that child.”
Then he told the following story:
Shay and his father walked by a park where some boys the youngster knew were playing baseball.
“Do you think they’ll let me join in? Shay asked. His father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team. However, his 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 in our team. 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 end 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 stand. 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?
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, the pitcher, recognising 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 forwards 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 his 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 now had his first chance to be the hero and save the game. 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 towards third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases towards home. All were screaming: “Shay, Shay, Shay! All the way Shay!”
He reached third base because the opposing player 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 all 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 passed on 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!
Now, a footnote to this story. People forward countless thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages such as this story about life choices, they hesitate.
The crude, vulgar and often obscene pass freely though cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in schools and workplaces.
If you’re thinking about sending someone this story, the chances are that you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the appropriate ones to receive this type of message.
Well, we all can make a difference. We all have dozens of opportunities every single day to help realise 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 ignore those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?
A wise man once said that every society is judged by how it treats the least fortunate amongst them. You now have two choices: send this story to someone else or forget it. May your day be a Shay day.”
That’s it folks. Had it been another day, maybe I would not have copied this and sent it to you. Who knows – maybe it was meant to be like this. I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy those jokes that come swinging my way over cyberspace. There are some really creative minds out there!
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