Tag Archives: caring

Someday and Somebody

Soebody

 

Just sitting here on a winter’s day thinking of all I could/should be doing and also about the things that appear to be way out of my control.

  • How many homeless people are there in this land of plenty?
  • How many children are hungry and ill-clothed for this weather?
  • How many people are dealing with terminal illness?
  • How many people are getting on with their lives with long, if not terminal illness?

And I realise that there is little I can do about these problems. But there is something I can do for one or two of those forced to beg on the streets, or forced to go to the Foodbank to be able to feed their family. I can give small amounts of money to a couple of these people and can add to the Foodbank collection at our grocery store when doing my shopping. Small things, but if we all do something the small things add up.

And I can continue to volunteer at the hospice in the hope that some small thing I do can make the end of somebody’s life a little easier.

So what can you do today?

This rant was brought on after being in town yesterday. I parked beside the Ronald McDonald House and saw distraught parents, I saw two homeless guys begging and the Foodbank collection pod at the supermarket.

Yesterday’s foray into town brought home to me just how lucky I am. I have a warm, safe home in which I live, I have food in the larder and money in my pocket and am not suffering from any major illness or disease. Fortunate indeed!

 

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One Year On

Andy arriving at the Hospice

Checking he is in the right place and looking for his friends

The highlight of the day as always on Thursday is the visit to the Hospice.  Are you all getting bored hearing about this?

This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of the Venerable Mary Potter and many celebrations of remembrance are proposed.

And looking back on last year’s blog I see that on this day Lotte and I were Looking for Andy.  Do you remember the armadillo and the adventures he had (we had) when he was visiting us?  I wonder where the little fellow is now and if he has arrived back home with Lenore Diane.

Well now on to today.  This is my lovely daughter’s birthday.  We don’t go overboard for birthdays in our family which is just as well because she had taken off today with the basketball team she coaches for a competition this weekend.  So there will be no riotous celebrations, she has to keep these young men in control.

Her own boys are spending the weekend with their father.  This all seems to be working out well for the family.  When they are with their father, apart from driving them to the various sports fixtures (they can’t get there easily from his house) he devises all sorts of interesting things for them to do together.

And lunchtime at the hospice today was rather a hectic affair.  Clients/patients choose what they want for lunch shortly after breakfast each morning,  Well today something went wrong and we had the wrong food for a couple of people.  No problem really; it just meant my going to the kitchen and reorganising the lunches.  This of course, takes time and throws the timing out.  So that by the time we got back to the first people with their desserts some had gone to sleep having become tired of waiting.

The lady from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) usually comes on Thursday with one or two dogs in tow.  These dogs are those available for adoption and most clients are pleased to see her each week.  Well, today she didn’t turn up and one elderly lady asked plaintively where the dogs were.  Obviously they derive a certain comfort and normalcy from the animals.  One man who has been there for several weeks has his wife bring in their dogs – two very large dogs from South Africa.  They could eat my Bella in one chomp but they are very quiet and placid.

Bella is settling down, barking less and accepting my friends and family when they come to visit.  She is still my shadow and doesn’t like me to leave her but today she slept in the car while I was in the hospice.  I do think she prefers that to being left at home, and as the weather is becoming cooler (by the day almost) it is not too hot for her to be left in the car.  She joins us on the terrace for lunch on sunny days and so doesn’t spend too long in the car alone.  Of course her exuberance and delight when I return has to be seen to be believed.  She reminds me of the Energizer bunny jumping up with all four feet in the air.

And from my little book of dog wisdom* :-

“Life is a precious gift.
Treat it delicately and be grateful for it,
but most importantly celebrate and enjoy it”

* dog wisdom to lift your spirits and brighten your day.  Published by Blue Angel Gallery, Australia.

Choose to Make it a Special Day

“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members ; the last, the least, the littlest.”
Cardinal Roger Mahony (1998)

What would you do?  You make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the 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: ‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature 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 the natural order of things in my son?’  The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

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’ll let me play?’ Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his 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.

Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and 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.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father’s joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay 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 and 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 the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.   Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

Boy playing baseball

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the  pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for  this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’ Never in his life had Shay 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, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay 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. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’.

Shay 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! Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ Shay 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.

Applause

‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’ So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

May your day be a Shay Day.

My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end.  Nothing is easier than fault finding.  All it will do is discolor my personality so that none will want to associate with me.  That was my old life.  No more.
Og Mandino