This story came to me in a round about way and it touched my heart so deeply that I felt the need to share it with my Brothers and Sisters in this forum with the simple prayer;
"May our Heavenly Father and His Son, through Their Spirit, get you thinking in the way They did for me".
This Sabbath (18th June) has closed for me, but it has been a blessed one and enriched by this story of the experience of a disabled Shay. There are many Shay's still out there in this world, disabled in many differing ways and needing a chance to bat or run or just be acknowledged as a person!!
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, 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, who was mentally and physically disabled 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 I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.
Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play? I knew that most of the boys would not
want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my 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".
"I 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 inning".
"Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt, I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my 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 I 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 me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day"!
After reading this story I had to ask one question: What decision would I have made that day? I can only pray that within me is the Spirit of Christ when I have to decide!
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. Matt 25:34-45