Choosing Kindness Over Winning

A Story for Your Heart

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 fundraising 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 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.

“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 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 will 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 Shaya 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 put on 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, with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn’t even know-how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should 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 forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the bat 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. Shaya 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, “Shaya, run to first. 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 out Shaya, 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.” Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to third. 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, 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.”

Story retold as described from Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention.

Mileage Gives Me Anxiety: A Little Perspective Please

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” 
-Abraham Lincoln

My family has leased a lot of cars. If you have ever leased a car you know you are given a certain mileage allotment and if you go over by the time you turn the car back in you have to pay a fine. It has also always been made very clear that increased miles on a car decreases its value.  Usually for road-trips we would rent a car for a week to keep the mileage down. Over and over again it was ingrained that too many miles meant a loss of value and money.

Here is another family’s story around mileage:

Every time the car gets to what may be a somewhat significant mileage there is a mini-celebration. There is discussion around all the miles covered, all the journeys experienced, how far the wonderful car has taken them. Family members remember certain places as significant because it was where the car hit this or that mileage. How amazing to have journeyed so many miles and to have a car last so long.

The Honda Civic, Zippy, on a trip from NY to LA

The Honda Civic, Zippy, on a trip from NY to LA

It is so interesting to look at our stories, especially when they go up against someone else’s. The story I know about mileage doesn’t  make much sense for me.  I am always in search of the next hike, mountain, adventure, town or anything new to explore. This leads to a lot of mileage. I have driven across country, twice. My weekends entail trips with car rides that are anywhere from a few to 10 hours away. I have driven roundtrip Florida to New York, New York to Chicago, New York to Tennessee, up and down the California coast and even up into Washington, and more. Despite the fact that I got the car I got because they are rumored to last well with high mileage and the fact that I do not lease the vehicle, I have reservations around putting too many miles on my car. The anxiety that accelerates as the mileage creeps up on my Honda Civic is a little ridiculous. Listening to another’s view around the same subject has again brought to light the stories we tell ourselves, perspective, and point of view. Mileage can either = accomplishment and gratitude or anxiety and emphasis on decreasing value.

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Time to enjoy every mile!

 My family’s story is just one perspective, so if I want to feel differently, I am going to have  to change my viewpoint.

Many things shape our beliefs: media, family, culture, teachers, and experiences. It is important to step back once in a while and wonder where our reactions and stories come from, and more importantly, if they are serving us, or if it is time to let them go for a different one.

Beauty, money, guilt, men, women, success, and love are topics worth looking into..

Enjoy every mile!

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