[StBernard] Something to make you think

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Jul 7 20:39:27 EDT 2008

What would you do? You make the choice.
Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one.
Read it anyway.
My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

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 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 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 the eighth inning. I
guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth

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. 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 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!' 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 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 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. 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!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes
through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending
messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often
obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency
is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're
probably sorting out the people in your address book who 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 two people
present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and
humanity or do we pass up those opportunities 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. Forward

May your day be a Shay Day.

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