Kelly Lowery describes one of the best days of his life and a “best day of their lives” he helped give to some Romanian orphans.
How would you describe the best day of your life? Of course, you’d say that the day you were married and the day your kids were born are the best days of your life. Those kind of days aside, if you could plan a perfect day, what would it look like? Who would be there? What would you do? Where would you go?
My wife and son and I are Red Sox fans and I wanted my son to experience Fenway Park. Because this is Papi’s last year, we thought it would be the right time. We jumped a red eye and landed at 7 am. We only planned to be there less than 48 hours, so we crammed as much in as possible. Duck boat tour, Freedom Trail tour, North end, Mike’s pastries and Bunker Hill memorial. But the reason we went was the Sox. It had started to rain, but even that couldn’t dampen our excitement and enthusiasm. Although It was my third time, it was my 12 year old son Josiah’s first time to Fenway and I was still as giddy right alongside him. It rained on us, we sang Wweet Caroline, the Sox lost, but we had an incredible time. After the game we went to the official team store on Yawkey way and Josiah picked out a game used Brock Holt bat to bring home. Having been up at this point for more than two days, we then went to the hotel and crashed. Up early the next morning we made our way back to Fenway as the Sox had an early 1pm game. (it’s why we picked this particular weekend so we could get a second game in before heading home that night) Upon arriving we discovered that it was photo day and the players were going to come out onto the field to meet fans and take pictures. Josiah and I made our way straight over to the green monster and took in the views from in front of this iconic spot. I told him, “don’t get your hopes up. There’s probably going to be 3 players come out. 2 middle relievers and a third string outfielder just called up from Pawtucket.” To my surprise, out came Hanley, Pedroia, Mookie, JBJ, Price, Hannigan and…. Brock Holt. Still clutching the game used Brock Holt bat from the night before, Josiah squeezed his way into the crowd up to Brock and held out the bat. The security guard repeated, “No autographs today, pictures only!” Then, Brock turned and seeing his own name on the bat reached over to Josiah and said, “I’ll make an exception for this little guy, he has my bat.” He then signed it and posed with with Josiah for a picture. We let our childlike enthusiasm carry us around the field to the other players and got pictures with many other great players. The Sox won that day. Papi tripled in the 9th to tie the game and hit his 200th career double in the 11th to win the game. It was fantastic. Though not technically the same calendar day, those short hours in Boston could possibly be one of the best days of my life.
In 2006 I was with a group of 22 young people and adults in Romania. We were there doing all sorts of outreach projects. One day in particular we traveled to an orphanage in Bucharest, This was not a normal orphanage, of which they have many; this was an orphanage for special needs kids. The goal for the day was to take the kids from this orphanage to a local park. When we arrived, we were each assigned a child to lead for the day. The boy I was given was only about 15 years old, but he was much larger than me. We sat together on the bus and I quickly became overwhelmed by the task ahead. Not only was he Romanian and didn’t speak any English, he was mentally challenged. Did I mention he was massive? On top of the communication challenges, just keeping hold of him was going to be virtually impossible. When we arrived at the park, the children lost their minds. The park was nothing special, although it did have a few rides and things you’d find at a small town fair in the US. There was loud Romanian music blasting and my guy was off to the races. I chased him down and went arm in arm with him so I wouldn’t lose him again. I would like to say I led him around to the rides, but the truth of the matter is that he dragged me around. I quietly prayed for him as we bounced around this park from one side to another and back again. At one point he found a gazebo where the music was originating from and my guy wanted to dance. He jumped around for awhile and I was happy for the break. Later, we boarded a small boat and made a few laps around the small pond. I was sure my guy would tip us over. After several hours we boarded the bus and headed back to the orphanage. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to be unloading my hard to handle new friend. We took the kids inside, hugged and breathed one final prayer as we melted back into the seats on the bus. As we pulled away from the orphanage, the bus was silent. Everyone was exhausted from the day. No words were spoken until the lady who organized our day and who visits this orphanage throughout the year stood up and said this: “I want to thank you for coming today. You may not know this, but I want you to know that from the day these kids arrived to this orphanage, they have not seen anything outside the walls of this orphanage. The day they turn 18 they will be fed one last time, loaded into a van and taken to the middle of the city where they will be dropped off and left. Look, I know you’re tired. You’re probably questioning what kind of difference you honestly made today. I want to thank you. Understand this. Today you gave them, the best day of their life.”
To whom much is given, much is required. Let us spend the blessed lives we’ve been given. Let us spend it all in service to the poor, the broken, the outcast.
Have thoughts about this article? Click here to tell us on Twitter!