“Sweet Caroline”…sweet Kai Leigh.

Watch this video (just click play at the bottom of the screen…make sure your volume is turned up), then read.

Ahh yes…”Sweet Caroline,” as only rabid Red Sox fans can sing it. What a performance. My dad and I saw several inspiring performances today (6.26) at Fenway Park in a game that pitted the BoSox against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wakefield gave us seven decent innings. David “Big Papí” Ortiz — aka Mr. Clutch — comes through again in the 12th inning with a two-out double to the gap to win the game for the Sox, 8-7. Third walk-off hit for Papí in the last eight games. You know, little performances.

But perhaps the biggest performance of the day (for me) was that of little Kai Leigh Harriott, a 5-year-old Boston girl, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at today’s game. You see, Kai Leigh’s spine was shattered by a stray bullet when she was three, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair-bound. The amazing part of the story was what happened two years later when little Kai Leigh faced the man who shot her. Sitting just a few feet from the man who changed her life forever, the five-year-old said the following words as she broke down in tears: “I know you didn’t mean to do this to me. You are forgiven.”

When the public address announcer told the story at today’s game, Kai Leigh received a standing ovation from almost 35,000 fans in attendance. The announcer correctly stated that Kai Leigh had taught all of us a lesson on compassion and forgiveness.

It was truly a holy moment. I saw Christ in the face of a five-year-old, wheelchair-bound little girl from a broken home in a violent part of town. This little girl forgave — with great emotion — the man who had no care for her life two years ago when he pulled a trigger. Can you imagine how hearing Kai Leigh’s forgiveness impacted the shooter?

There are so many lessons one could draw out of this story, but here’s one thought to ponder today. Time and time again, Jesus points to the “weak” or “least” things as being most valuable in the kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus tells us that Christians must look to people like Kai Leigh:

Then he said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

In a world that holds grudges, fights for “personal rights,” steps on anyone and everyone to get ahead, and generally looks out for number one, Jesus is telling us that his followers will look a whole lot more like a compassionate little girl in a wheelchair. How odd…

[Click here for a Globe story on Kai Leigh’s confrontation with her shooter.]

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