I watched a fifteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy hit a baseball. It was something else. His father pitched full-speed from the mound, just like a major-leaguer. The boy held the bat with unsteady hands.
The kid smacked it so hard it made the fence. His mother cheered in the bleachers. So did I.
The fifteen-year-old didn’t even run. He started to cry. So did his daddy. They held each other in the batter’s box for awhile.
“You don’t understand,” said his mother. “They’ve been working on just HOLDING a bat for years. He NEVER gets a hit.”
He did today.
Tanya—I meet her in the Walmart. She has six children with her. The oldest is pushing the cart. Two are in the basket. Three follow.
These are not her biological children.
Tanya’s been fostering for a long time. She used to do it with her husband—he died several years ago.
Her husband had been raised in the foster system. He had been passionate about fostering.
“We used to spend every dime we made on these kids,” she says. “My husband would say, ‘If you only knew how hard it is growing up feeling like nobody wants you. I know what it’s like.’”
After his death, she carried on his tradition. And even though she’s unmarried, she welcomes new kids by the handful.
Yolanda. She is from Ecuador. She was a victim of human-trafficking. She was saved. Since then, she’s made a new life for herself. She is about to become a certified personal fitness trainer.
As part of her rehabilitation, she started spending time in gyms. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to make it her profession.
“I LOVE working out,” says Yolanda. “I take out all my angry thoughts on these machines.”
Yolanda has a boyfriend. They just got engaged last month. He is from Mexico. He is a Pentecostal preacher.
“I’m always believing,” she says. “Even when I was prisoner, you know, without hope, I never stop making prayers to El Señor to ‘please, save me.’”
She can bench press three of me.
Anyway, you probably have a television in your home. I do.
And maybe you’re like me. Maybe you wake up in the mornings and turn it on. Maybe you flip channels. Maybe you see talking heads in business suits.
The same ones who repeat the same headlines. They roll footage that will sour a healthy stomach. They talk so loud their faces turn red.
They talk about tragedies, plane crashes, controversies, murders. And they talk about the same villians until they’ve worn out the names.
And if you ask me, it’s a shame.
Because if the suits who pretend to be broadcast journalists could only shake hands with a widowed foster mother, or get one firm hug from Yolanda.
Or watch a fifteen-year-old boy with CP hit home runs in a ballpark. I believe they would change the way they see this world.
This life is not all bullets and sex scandals. It’s more. It is gentle. It’s so sweet it’ll make your chest hurt. So happy it will break your heart. It’s breathtaking.
And it’s a lot damn bigger than a TV.