What Would You Do?
This is a true, touching story showing the compassion of young boys.
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 it's 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. 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 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, 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 of a winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next up to 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, Shay!" 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 other'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.
Everyone was 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!" 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, humility, 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!
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to make a difference. So mamy seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:
Do we pass along a little spark of love, humility and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities? A wise man once said, "Every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (NKJV).
THIS IS MY TESTIMONY:
This story is a reminder of an incident I encountered a few years ago. My nephew, Ross, who is deaf and mentally challenged due to a brain injury and his brother, Sam, were big basketball fans but both had separate teams they supported. Ross was for Cleveland Cavaliers (when Lebron James was playing for them) while Sam was a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan.
Getting into the finals, The Bulls were to play against Cavaliers on Ross's birthday. I spoke to Sam, a few days prior, and I told him how wrong it would be if Ross's team lost, especially on his birthday. Sam laughed and said, "Well, we'll see what happens."
When Ross's birthday came he was excited that his team was going up against Ssm's team and he was hoping his team would win. The game didn't come on until that evening and all through the day I was expecting Sam to text and wish Ross a "Happy birthday and wish his team luck on the match-up that night."
But the day passed, it was now evening and time for the game to start yet, we didn't hear anything from Sam. Then when the game started, Ross anxiously watched and kept hoping his team would win. I knew how it would have made his birthday complete should that happen. I was so hoping Sam would text Ross but he didn't.
The first half of the game Ross's team was ahead. He was filled with joy, saying that finally his team will beat Sam's team. But during the second half, the teams went back-and-forth with both teams gaining the lead. Finally in the fouth quarter, The Bulls gained a large lead and it didn't look good for the Cavaliers. Sure enough, by the time the game was over, the Bulls had won. Ross was very disappointed and sadly gathered his pajama's and headed into the bathroom to shower before going to bed.
About 5 minutes after the game was over, Sam sent me a text message, "Tell Ross happy birthday and sorry about his team."
I was furious. The audacity of Sam texting only moments after Ross's team lost was like a slap in the face. I called Sam and confronted him about his insensitivity towards Ross. Then we began to get into a heated argument, as I was bluntly explaining to Sam about his treatment toward Ross and Sam was only giving me excuses as to why he didn't call or text earlier to wish him a happy birthday.
After I hung up on Sam, a few minutes later I called him and apologized for my anger and for how I spoke to him. He continued to give me excuses but he never once apologized for how he treated Ross.
My relationship with Sam has basically been strained every since that time. Even a few years after this incident, at the family reunion, Sam tried to bring the subject up again --- not to apologize but seemingly, just to upset me again --- but I just walked away. I knew he had no remorse for his actions.
Sam now has his own ministry and I pray he has received a revelation about his actions on that day and I pray he will someday ask God's forgiveness. I never told Ross about Sam texting that day so there is no need for him to apologize to Ross.
But that year, the Cavaliers may have lost in the playoffs but the Bulls never won the championship either. Fortunately, Lebron James went to play for Miami Heat (which is now Ross's team. Whoever Lebron is with that's Ross's team) and this year, 2012, the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship and Lebron James won most valuable player.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
INSIGHT: On this side of heaven we will never understand how "all things" can work together for good for God's children. We know that not all things in themselves are good, but God knows how He'll do it and in Him we trust! We need to be more sensitive, humble and compassionate to those who are handicapped. Treating them inferior to ourselves only puts a blemish on our own character.
*** Although the testimonial story is true, the names have been changed for legal purposes.