In Brooklyn, New York, Chush School caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain at Chush for their entire school experience, while others are mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fundraising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a never-to-be-forgotten speech.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, “Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? 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. After 20 seconds of uncomfortable silence, the father answered his own question. “I believe,” the father said, “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 Shaya:
One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, “Do you think they would let me play?”
Shaya’s father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya’s father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.
Shaya’s father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if he 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.” Shaya’s father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to get a glove and go out to play short center field.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya’s team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded the potential winning run was on base. Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance at winning the game? Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew it was all but impossible because Shaya didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone what to do with it.
However, as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps forward to lob the ball in softly so Shaya could at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya’s teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher, waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps even closer to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the ball and together they hit a slow ground ball back to the pitcher. He picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to first base. Shaya would have been out and that would end the game.
Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it in a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first basemen. Everyone started yelling, “’Shaya, run to first.’ Never in his life had Shaya 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 Shaya out.
But the right fielder understood the pitcher’s intention, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second.’ Shaya ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home. As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, ‘Shaya, run home.’ Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero since he had just hit a grand slam and won the game for his team. ‘That day,’ said the father softly with tears rolling down his face, ‘those boys reached God’s perfection.’”