Thursday, January 8, 2009

Light of Hope

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

"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 if Shay
could play, not expecting much. 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, put on a team shirt with a
broad smile and his Father had 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 'cause 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 the
other team 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 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
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, but 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 head of the first baseman, 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 ran that far but 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 second base. By the time Shay rounded towards
second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their
team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He
could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher's intentions and 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. As Shay neared third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him
and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to
Third! Shay, run to third!

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were
on their feet were screaming, "Shay, 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 and 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!

send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought,
but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think
twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely
through cyberspace, but public
discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that
you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the
"appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person
who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have
thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the
"natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between
people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of
love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity to brighten the day of
those with us the least able, and leave the world a little bit colder
in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats
it's least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:

1. Delete

2. Pass it on

May your day, be a Shay Day, sunny today tomorrow & always!

Success is failure turned inside out; the silver tint of the clouds of
doubt; and you never can tell how close you are; it may be near when it
Seems afar; so stick to the fights when you're hardest hit; it's when
Things go wrong that you must not quit."

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