At a fund-raising dinner
for a school that serves children with learning problems, 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
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 I'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 bases loaded,
the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next
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 this 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
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."