The Little Boy
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 all 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 other
children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?" The audience was
stilled by the query.
The father continued. "I believe," the father answered,
"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 his father had 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 ninth inning."
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. 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, 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 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 the Divine Plan
into this world."