Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beautiful Story

So my good friend Holly had this story on her blog on myspace and I thought that I just had to post it as it actually brought tears to my eyes and was one of the most beautiful stories that I have ever read. Thanks again Holly!

My question is: "Would you have made the same choice?" At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves childrenwith learning disabilities, the father of one of the studentsdelivered 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 thenatural order of things in my son?' The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other peopletreat that child.' Then he told the following story: Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understoodthat if my 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. I approached one of theboys on the field and asked (not expecting much)if Shay couldplay. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losingby 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. I watched with a smalltear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy atmy 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 playedin 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 I waved to him from the stands. Inthe bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now,with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning runwas on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At thisjuncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance towin the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyoneknew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't evenknow how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with theball. 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 pitchcame 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 groundball 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 outand that would have been the end of the game. Instead, thepitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, outof reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and bothteams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Neverin 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 strugglingto make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on theirteam 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 gamefor his team 'That day', said the father softly with tears nowand rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Shaydidn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, havingnever forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her littlehero of the day! *AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousandsof jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but whenit comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyber-space, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressedin our schools and workplaces. If you're thinking about forwardingthis message, chances are that you're probably sorting out thepeople in your address book who aren't the 'appropriate' onesto receive this type of message Well,the person who sent youthis believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day tohelp realize the 'natural order of things.' So many seeminglytrivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanityor do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world alittle bit colder in the process? A wise man once said "everysociety is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongstthem.

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