Exploring the meaning of life…

Posts tagged ‘humanity’

Who is the face of humanity?

Slavery is theft — theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne.
        K
EVIN BALES, Understanding Global Slavery

The first time I saw this picture, I had to look at it very closely to determine what it was.  When I realized that it was human beings stacked on top of each other on a boat on their way to slavery,  it made me sick.  I don’t understand why anyone would think that it is okay to buy and sell human beings.  The evil of that is horrifying to me.  I believe it is the evil of greed and power. 

The roots of slavery can be traced back to England, Spain and the West Indies in the 17th century.  People were given a “license” to steal these people from their homes for sale to the highest bidder.  Slavery affects me  much like the Holocaust does.  There really aren’t words to describe that kind of evil.

We had a lot of great minds writing the framework of our constitution and I am disappointed that they were unable to eliminate slavery here before it became so widespread.  Politics should never enter into what we know is the right thing to do.  Allowing evil to exist is just as bad as taking a whip to the back of a slave, as is depicted in the picture  above.  Greed and power have brought many injustices to the world in the form of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, just to point out a few. 

Greed allowed millions of African-Americans and Jews to be treated like they were human flotsom to be used and destroyed at will.  No one has that right.  There are still parts of this great country of ours that endorse hatred because of a person’s color or nationality.   What happened to African-Americans and Jews should outrage all of us.  So, how did this happen to our world?  Did people just look away when they saw what was happening?  Why didn’t they recognize that these people were evil?  I believe we look away because  we don’t want to believe that we, too, could allow evil to take root in our lives.  We want to believe that evil is segragated to evil people.  We don’t want to believe that we work or live side-by-side with people who harbor evil in their minds and hearts – people who would fly an airplane into a building and kill innocent people.  But the reality is that we do.  So, the only real question is this: Who is the face of humanity?  It is us.  We are the ones.  It isn’t up to our neighbor or our boss or anyone else in the world.  IT IS UP TO US!  We can find our instructions on handling evil in Romans 12:21: Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.  The worst message of Evil is to convince us that we can’t make a difference.  That is the lie.  The reality is that God brings people into our paths every single day that need something – a meal, a pat on the back or a kind word.  We can’t afford to miss these opportunities to do good because we are too busy or believe the lie that we can’t make a difference.  How do you start?  You become willing to let God show you when these chances cross your path.  There are some really great websites to encourage you, such as Project Goodness and www.freerice.com.  The Free Rice Website lets you play a game.  For every answer you get correct, they donate 10 grains of rice.  Yesterday, they donated 7, 521,920 grains of rice and to date since their inception in 2007, they have donated 91 billion grains of rice!  Please join me today in finding some good to do for humanity and share your journey with us.

Shay, Shay, All the Way Shay! A Lesson in Humanity

 Rabbi Paysach Krohn, a popular lecturer and best-selling author of the ArtScroll Maggid series of short stories, tells this story about a boy named Shay.

At a fundraising dinner for an American school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by any who attended.

The father stated, “I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally 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.”  Then he began his story.

Shay and his father walked past a park where some boys that Shay knew were playing baseball.  Shay asked, “Do you think they’ll let me play?”  Shay’s father knew the boys probably would not want Shay to play on their team, but he also knew if they did, it would give his son a sense of belonging and confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his disability.

Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much.  The boy look 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 teams’ bench and put on a team shirt with a broad smile. His father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart.  The boys saw how happy the father was to see his son accepted by his peers.  In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs, but was still behind by three.

In the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played 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.  In the bottom of the ninth, Shay’s team scored again.  Now, with two outs and bases loaded, Shay was up to bat.  At this juncture, his father expected them to let someone else bat.  Surprisingly, the coach gave Shay 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.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher recognized that the other team had put winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life.  He moved in a few steps and lobbed the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.  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 pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman and the game would have been over.  Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates.  Everyone in the stands and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first!”  Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base.  He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

“Run to second,” everyone screamed.  Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second base.  By the time Shay approached second base, the right fielder had the ball.  He was the smallest guy on the team and he had the chance to be the hero for his team for the first time.  He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions and he, too, intentionally threw the ball high over the head of the third-baseman.  Shay ran deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay!”  Everyone was on their feet as Shay ran to home and cheered the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

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 and died that winter, but he never forgot how it felt to be the hero of that game and how happy it made his father.                                                                                                                                                                        

Rabbi Paysach Krohn (left) posing with a fan after speaking in Passaic, New Jersey, December, 2007.

I absolutely loved this story when I read it.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we would all treat each other as the boys treated Shay?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would all make it a point to bring love and humanity into the world we live in?    As we go about our lives today, I pray that we’ll recognize the “Shays” that cross our paths and take that opportunity to do the right thing and bring a little humanity into the world.      

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