At a fund raising
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 the 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 I 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
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 closer 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
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 the 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