In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning disabled
children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career,
while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools.
At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered
a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling
the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection
in my son, Shay? Everything God does is done with perfection. But
my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child
cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is
God's perfection?"
The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish
and stilled by the piercing query. "I believe," the
father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world,
the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child."
He then told the following story about his son Shay:
One afternoon, Shay and his father 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 his son was not at all athletic
and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shay's father
understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a
comfortable sense of belonging.
Shay's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shay
could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his team-mates.
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."
Shay's father was ecstatic as Shay smiled broadly. Shay was told to
put on a glove and go out to play short center field. In the bottom
of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind
by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again
and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning
run on base. Shay was scheduled to be up. 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 it was all
but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly,
let alone hit with it. However as Shay stepped up to the plate, the
pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay should at
least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. One of Shay's
team-mates came up to Shay and together they held the bat and faced the
pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps
forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch cam in, Shay
and his teammate swung at the ball and together they 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 run to first. He scampered
down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first
base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball
to the second baseman who would tag out Shay, who was still running.
But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were,
so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone
yelled, "Run to second, run to second." Shay ran towards second base
as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.
As Shay reached second base, the opposing short stop 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 ran behind him screaming,
"Shay run home." Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys
lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit
a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "
those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us
than what we think of ourselves.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings,
but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend
more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger
houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have
more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge but less judgment; more
experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We have
multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much,
love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to
make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to
years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble
crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space,
but not inner space; we've cleaned up the air, but polluted
the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice. We have higher
incomes, but lower morals; we've become long on quantity, but short on
quality. These are the times of tall men, and short character; steep
profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace,
but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food,
but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce;
of fancier houses, but broken homes. It is a time when there is much
in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology
can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to
make a difference or just hit delete.
Keep reaching for that level of perfection.