A young boy with an abusive mother had been left to fend for himself when a mom’s heart sank for him and decided to take him in. What happened next is amazing.
She was a drug-addict, and drove away from her 11-year-old son, Billy, leaving him crying at the curb. His aunt Val wasn’t much better; had no interest in caring for him either. He lived on peanut butter and stale bread, and he used to watch and listen to the five children next door as they were firmly but kindly directed to do things by their mother.
One Sunday morning, as the family packed into their car to head for church, the mother noticed Billy watching them. His looks made her feel uneasy, but she could see the pain in his eye. She thought about him all through the service. When they got home, one of her kids, Cecil, walked up to Billy and started talking to him. He asked Billy to come over to his house for awhile, and Billy did. Billy’s aunt was never home, so there was no one to ask if he could visit the boy at his house. Doubtful she would have cared anyway. The mother bit her lip as the young boy walked through her home. Cecil and Billy started hanging around together more and more.
And one day they found an expensive tennis shoe near the courts. And Billy said that one day he would have enough money to buy himself some fancy tennis shoes like these. And the mother shook her head. And she cringed when he said that one day he would have all the money he wanted. She could only imagine how he would do that. She believed he would grow to be a terrible man. She could just see it. Billy was bad news, and she told Cecil she wanted him to stay away from that boy. Cecil was sad. “There’s something good in Billy,” he said. “…I know it. He needs us.”
That night, the mother had a dream, and in it Billy was a man, and he had a bullet wound in his chest. And he just kept staring at her. Then, he collapsed. And an angel appeared as asked her, “Did you do your best?” That dream stayed on her mind for hours. And when Cecil came home from school, she told him that he was right, but there would be some rules.
When Billy came over later, she told him she believed there was a lot of good in him, but he had to abide by her rules. Like doing his homework and helping her with supper. She told him that if he worked hard and stayed in school, he might actually amount to something. And he might be able to one day buy him a pair of nice tennis shoes. It was rough at first for Billy, but with each passing week he got better at being a more disciplined person.
And then years passed, and Billy started trusting in that woman more than ever. Whenever he had problems, he came to her for advice. And it was always good. Finally, when graduation day came, the mother, who for the last several years had acted as much like a mother to Billy as she did her own children, grinned when Billy walked by in his long, green robe. And as he walked by her and accepted his diploma, he raised his robe a little to reveal the shoes he was wearing. With the money he had saved from his summer job Billy was able to buy himself a nice new pair of fancy tennis shoes.
It was more of a present for the woman who taught him to be the person he had become. As tears streamed down her cheek at the sight of those shoes, she could almost feel an angel touching her on the shoulder. And she could almost he that angel say that, yes, she certainly had done her best.