Day 35: Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

40 Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me.

I met eleven-year-old Billy at the Atlanta Methodist Children’s Home. He had high, Cherokee cheekbones, expressive brown eyes, a 70 IQ, and was short and stocky. He was coming home with me! I asked Billy what he wanted most in the world. He said he wanted to be normal. “What is normal?” I asked. “To play sports!” Billy exclaimed, as if obvious.
I signed Billy up for football. He looked good in his uniform, but sat on the bench all season. Next I signed Billy up for basketball. Again Billy sat on the bench all season. He seemed happy just to be part of the team and enjoyed our routine of DQ burgers after each game.
The final tournament was held in a large, packed gymnasium. Billy’s team tried, but the scoreboard suggested their cause was lost. Billy’s coach called a timeout and had a conversation with the opposition’s coach and referees. Billy went to the sideline with the ball. He looked confident and threw in the ball. Billy followed the ball, knocking players from both teams to the floor. The referee’s whistle blew. I knew Billy was going to be sent back to the bench. Instead the referee called the foul on the other team and gave the ball to Billy for a second time. Billy threw the ball and ran into the fray pushing other players to the floor. The sound of the whistle stopped the mayhem. Billy’s foul was once more assigned to the other team, and Billy walked alone to the free throw line. Billy pulled the ball down between his legs, released the ball, and miraculously it landed dead center in the hoop. Knowing Billy’s story, every person stood up to cheer for him.

 

The coaches, referees and community were one in the spirit of goodness–a celebration of Billy.

At the DQ I told Billy how proud I was of him. He said, “I knew I could do it if I had a chance.”

Prayer:
Our Father in Heaven, Mother of cardinal, oak and sky, Great spirit of wind and prairie grasses: Let us be welcoming and open–instruments in everyday miracles. Amen.

Contributed by Ann Hendrix