It was Florida, it was summer, it was afternoon, and the sun was ruling with brutal force from on high. Ten-year-old Brian climbed the coverless bleachers toward the press box. His dad was coaching the Louisiana State Champion Dixie Majors baseball team in the annual all-star world series. But, Brian couldn’t take his place as bat boy for this game.
It was Florida, it was summer, it was afternoon, and the sun was Brian’s arch-enemy.
Albinism. That was the doctors’ word for Brian’s white hair, pale skin, and imperfect vision. Annoying, was Brian’s word for it. Instead of sitting with the team, all high school guys who treated him like one of their buddies, he had to hole up in the press box to avoid severe sunburn.
He lifted a hand to block the glare coming in from the top of his extra-dark shades and looked over his shoulder. How was he even supposed to see the game from up here?
He walked into the press box and just stood there for a moment. A lady was sitting in front of the window, whispering to someone on the phone.
“Yes, ma’am,” he whispered back.
“I’m Sarah. You can sit here beside me while I keep score for the game.”
“Hi,” Brian said, pulling out the chair next to the lady. “Why are we whispering?”
“Oh, you don’t have to whisper,” Sarah said with a breathy laugh. “I speak this way because I had surgery on my throat.”
In the silence that followed, Brian thought he heard the lady sniffle. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she whispered. “Just before you came in, someone was really rude to me on the phone. Even after I told him why, he was angry because I couldn’t speak up.”
Sarah explained that cancer had stolen her voice, and it was difficult for people to understand her.
“My mama always says we have a purpose in life and are lucky to be alive, no matter what has happened to us,” said Brian. “God made us very special. Don’t worry about it, because we can still be friends.”
Brian had no idea what those words were doing within Sarah’s heart. He just wanted to help her feel better the same way his mom had helped him. But God was using those words and a little boy’s compassion to rekindle the fire of faith in Sarah’s spirit.
Throughout the rest of the tournament, Brian couldn’t wait to climb up to the press box and sit beside his new friend. Sarah talked with him like a grown-up, and he made her laugh. During games in which his dad’s team wasn’t playing, Brian worried Sarah might be missing him.
Later that week, the sports journalist who shared the press box with them wrote an article about the unique bond Brian and Sarah had formed and the life-changing impact of their chance meeting at a baseball game.
Sarah told the reporter she had become despondent over her affliction. “Then, in walked my ray of sunshine and changed my thinking.”
Thus began a friendship which would defy distance and time. That was 1985.
Where are they now? Check back tomorrow to find out and enter to win a special give-away!
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