At a fundraising dinner for a school that
serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's
students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by those who
attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered
a question. "Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my
son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot
understand things as the children do. Where is God's plan reflected in
The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I
believe, that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an
opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself. And it comes in
the way people treat that child."
Then, he told the following story:
Shay and I walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing
baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"
Shay's father knew that most boys would not want him on their team. But
the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give
him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of
the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked
around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters
into his own hands and said, "We are 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 up to bat in the
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but
was still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a
glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was
obviously ecstatic just to be 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.
Shay was scheduled to be the next at-bat. Would the team actually let
Shay bat at this juncture 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 moved 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 toward Shay. As
the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the
ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have
ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a
high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling, "Shay, Shay, run to first. Run to
first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He
scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled,
"Run to second, run to second! By the time Shay was rounding first
base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to
the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the
pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over
the third baseman's head. Shay ran towards second base as the runners
ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.
As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned
him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to
third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were
screaming, "Shay! Run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on home
plate and was cheered as the hero, for hitting a "grand slam"
and winning the game for the team.
"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down
his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the
Divine Plan into this world."
In conclusion: a footnote to the story. We all send thousands of jokes
through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending
messages regarding life choices, people think twice about sharing. The
crude, vulgar, and sometimes the obscene pass freely through cyberspace,
but public discussion of decency is too often suppressed in school and
the workplace. If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you
are probably thinking about which people on your address list aren't the
"appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. The person
who sent this to you believes that we can all make a difference. We all
have thousands of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So
many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a
choice: Do we pass along a spark of the Divine? Or do we pass up that
opportunity, and leave the world a bit colder in the process?
"FRYING PANS ALOFT"
"BROADSWORDS AT THE READY"
Live a little, laugh a lot..