Thursday, October 8, 2009

At the place where I go to do my worship, there is this lady who always brought her deaf, mute and subnormal son with her. He is a grown up boy but because of his handicap and look, people shun him. A mother’s love is immeasurable. She knew that people would look down on her or her boy but she still brings him around. Although he could not hear nor speak but he happily turned the Dharma wheel. No mother would want an abnormal child and I knew the heartache and hardship she is facing both at home and at work. As for the boy, he could be violent as I saw that aspect of him and he beats up his mother as well in time of frustrations. However his mother do not want to forsake him, she keeps him by her side and brings him around so that he has outdoor activities as well. The Mother told me that even her own siblings look down on her for having a child as such. This ached my heart. The boy did not ask to be born this way. To Buddhist this is Karma but we cannot be hard or cruel just because someone is serving his Karma. Today he is used to me sitting in front of him and every time when I am late, he laid out my cushions and my prayer table for me. This is acceptance and it formed a friendship. I rejoice!

Below is a story sent to me by my papa? You may have read it before…but I want to share it here so that many others, who have not, can read it.

Our behavior is a CHOICE.

At a school dinner that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech.

'When not interfered by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection, yet my son, Shaun, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?' The audience was silent by the question.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shaun, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.' It is only with imperfection that we see kindness and beauty….

He told the following story:

One day, Shaun and I had walked past a park where some boys were playing baseball. Shaun asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shaun, but as a father I knew if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached the boys and asked but not expecting much The Leader said, 'We're 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 in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shaun struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and the boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaun's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shaun put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaun's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shaun was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, will they let Shaun bat?

Surprisingly, Shaun was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shaun didn't even know how to hold the bat properly. However, as Shaun stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shaun's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in so Shaun could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shaun swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shaun. As the pitch came in, Shaun swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling,

'Shaun, run to first! Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shaun ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled,

'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shaun awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shaun rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shaun ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming,

'Shaun, Shaun, Shaun, all the Way Shaun!!!'

Shaun reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted,

'Run to third! Shaun, run to third!'

As Shaun rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming,

'Shaun, run home! Run home!'

Shaun ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father with tears rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'. Shaun died three months later.


We all have opportunities every day to help realize the 'natural order of things.' So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice. Do pass along a little spark of love and humanity in this World to make it warmer for all.

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