We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought,
but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.
The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace,
but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools
and workplaces.

Two Choices

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 fund raising dinner for a school that serves children
with learning disabilities, 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, 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.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys
Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,
‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’
I knew that most of the boys would not want someone
like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood
that 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 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.. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth
in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my 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 I 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. 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
‘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 me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Please feel free to pass this along, we all can make a difference in someone else’s life. I have a very personal reason for believing this because it strikes very close to home in my life. My daughter who spent her days confined to a wheel chair passed away a little over four months ago; so I can relate to Shay’s story. 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?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.

May your day, be a Shay Day.


our minds reach out hungrily for learning
often finding too little upon which to feed
memory holds more than many expect
knowing words is not knowing thoughts

when one lays awake at night
he thinks of many things
seeing one dream slide away
down distant hills and another born
some dreams come again and again

we walk upon lofty mountains at night
I bring sticks for our affectionate fire
we watch while flames embrace them
destroying that which they need and love


Just nine days before her thirty-second birthday
her short, beautiful life came to an abrupt end
early morning call; come quickly: too late there
fingers so limp in life now begin to stiffen
soft brown eyes become fixed on unseen horizons

Her name was Katerina. Went by Katie less often Kat
she reached out through her blog as “katsscribbles”
undaunted by confinement to life in a wheelchair
a warrior whose feats live on in her poetry and art
always eager to strive for that far away destination

she was my friend and confidant, she was my daughter
her passing leaves a terrible emptiness in my life
I ask myself “why Katie and not me?” and I cry
she was young and vibrant while I am getting old
as the song says “Farther Along” we’ll understand why

I loved you in life and I still love you in death
goodbye my daughter I’ll meet you in Paradise


if I should ever lose my sight
one thing I should not have to study
I think I would remember light

having embraced you in a field of white
I will recall its folds around your body
if I should ever lose my sight

how to forget this frantic flight
should I ever learn to hold steady
I think I would remember light

as you refining day from night
with that promise held ready
if I should ever lose my sight

I might be given one dark night
a subtle glow from thoughts so pretty
I think I would remember light

yet small gods continue their spite
larger ones share a heartfelt pity
if I should ever lose my sight
I will always remember you as light



Your arms were always open
when I needed a hug.
Your heart understood
when I needed a friend.
Your gentle eyes were stern
when I needed a lesson.
Your strength and love guided me
when needed gave me wings to fly

We thank God
for those precious mothers,
who brought us into the world,
nurtured us, taught us, loved us,
encouraged us, strengthened us
have always been by our side.

We naturally think of Proverbs 31:10-30,
“Who can find a virtuous woman?
For her price is far above rubies….”
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father,
and forsake not the law of thy mother:
For they shall be an ornament of grace
unto thy head, and chains about thy neck”
(Prov. 1:8-9).

Song Titles

In the early morning rain
Ghost Riders in the Sky
Men with Broken Hearts
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay
I still miss someone

Raindrops keep falling on my head
Ain’t Nobody Loves Me
You were always on my Mind
Wishing you were somehow here again
Take these chains from my heart

There’s a fire deep in the Hill
Where the Mountain begins
Somewhere out there
It happened once before
Who knows where the time goes

Lord I hope this day is good
Funny how time slips away
I’m in a different world
On this side of goodbye
I have a dream
We’ll be together again

When a Man Loves a Woman
She thinks I still care
I can’t help myself
My Heart Will Go On
It’s all in the game
You keep running away

If you could read my mind
Oh what a circus
The way we were
out of control
When the lights went out in Georgia

You’ve lost that loving feeling
Heard it through the grapevine
It’s the same old song
Standing in the shadows of love
Looking over my shoulder
If Hollywood don’t need you

Where have all the flowers gone?
Listen to the radio
for the good times
Try to remember
Today I started loving you again
I will always love you

Looking out my back door
All I have to do is dream
She believes in me
The great pretender
Leaving on a jet plane
Turn! Turn! Turn!

Walls we are not forgotten
Send in the clowns
Anything but lonely
Mansion on a hill
From a distance
Everything is beautiful
What a wonderful world

Lay down beside me
There’ll be no teardrops tonight
Both sides now
Another suitcase in another hall
The point of no return
The dark end of the street

A horse with no name
On the Road Again
Before the Next Teardrop Falls
Searching for love
Behind Closed Doors
for the good times

Snakes crawl at night
Bad moon rising
Run through the jungle
Don’t be angry with me
House of the Rising Sun

If you don’t want my love
You might find I’m gone
Thank you for the music
These boots are made for walking
That’s the way love goes

Women Make a Fool of Me
Any dream will do
Long as I can see the light
Please release me
The Last Farewell
Who’ll stop the rain?


The Falling

I walked right off the edge of the world
just like the scientists of old had predicted
how far I fell I have no way of knowing
it seemed an eternity before I finally stopped
perhaps a more fitting word would be paused
for that is all I did on my downward plunge
into this region that consists of eternal shadow

I never made it all the way to the bottom
for somewhere in those deepening shadows
something caused me to open my weary eyes
and look back toward whence I had come

A tiny light was shining off in the distance
It was so intense I felt it take hold of me
and begin pulling me back upward
as does a rope lift a bucket from a well
that rope is long but the light grows
as I am slowly returned to that land
to once again share this beautiful love

That has been so freely extended to me
never again will I listen to those scientists
for love can only live in a place that offers
it reason to return once it has flown away

…..Jerry Marks