A little quick background on the Hoyts: Rick was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, causing a shortage of O2 to his brain – causing cerebral palsy. The doctors told his parents to get ready to discard him into some institution, that he would be nothing but a vegetable his whole life. Dick and his wife didn’t believe this. They took him home and incorporated him into their family’s life. They even fought to get him a way to communicate thru a special computer, fought to put him in school – and to be part of everyday life. At some point, Rick learned of a 5k run/fundraiser for the paralyzed. He communicated to his father he wanted to participate some way – so his father trained and pushed him in the race. Afterward, Ricktold his father “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” They’ve been racing ever since! You can also watch this video.
Okay, I am sure many of you have seen this team. Maybe you know their story, maybe not…maybe up close or from far away. I am sure I have heard of them…I know their has been a sign on the 101 that talks about how “He has been behind him for XX of races…” which I am pretty sure is Team Hoyt. Their story, not just the dad’s, exemplifies the previous principle I stated:
gratefulness = happiness
Read on to see why:
This Sunday as we were all home sick with a cold, I sat my oldest on my lap, turned on www.GodTube.com and started listening to some worship songs…I ran into the following:
I couldn’t stop crying, especially as I watched it over and over again and got to the part where Dad carries Son from the boat to the bike, and as he is fastening him into his seat on the bike, puts his hands on either side of his sons face. Such a loving gesture…a gesture that says “I love you just the way you are, you don’t have to do a thing for me to love you. And more than that, I am going to take care of you.”
I will get into the gratefulness part in just a minute ~ or so. Right now, I want to focus on this: The more and more I watch this video, see Dick’s steady face of determination during the race…the more and more I relate this to how my heavenly Father sees me, sees you and all His beloved children. While we might not feel like we are handicapped (well, I know as a mom I often do!) on a day to day basis – in God’s eyes we are. We have all gone astray from his good and perfect will since the day of – you guessed it – our great parents Adam & Eve. Not one of us seeks to do good, to be holy and righteous on our own. We always have ulterior motives, even if we don’t admit it.
So in this sense, we are handicap – for we cannot live the life we intend or God intends for us to live.
That is where God steps in and finds a way to get us thru the race. He finds us the boat, the seat on the bike and the wheelchair that will allow him to push us all those miles. He carries us from one to the other with such loving, tender care – that of a father and his newborn baby. He does this cause he knows it will benefit us, that we will feel like we are flying, like we are part of the race. He makes sure that we are strapped in tight and that we are enjoying the ride…and most of all that we can finish the race – because all the time he is behind us. What is the vehicle of transportation? Whether it is a boat, a bike or a wheelchair – they are all Jesus.
Rick has no possible way of ever racing these races himself; it is only thru Dick’s loving sacrifice that he is able to experience these races. Do you see that is what God has done for you, thru his son Jesus? There is no way we could ever reach the finish line ==> heaven by ourselves. We can’t get up out of the boat and swim, or ride the bike or run the marathon…we can only strap ourselves onto Jesus and allow him to get us there…
Now go back and watch this video again, listening to the lyrics and thinking about all I just said…
GRATEFULNESS = HAPPINESS
Okay, back to this subject. I have no idea if the Hoyt’s are followers of Christ. It would seem that Dick would have needed some role model in his life to model this to his son…but that is really beside the point. We still can learn so much from them!
Dick most certainly could have expected a life like most of us expect as we grow up. That we will get a job, get married, have a family and live to a ripe old age where our children will take care of us. Like most of us, he probably expected that he would have his children, raise them and after 18-25 years – they would be on their own without much help from him & his wife.
However, the day they brought Rick home – he and his wife had a decision to make. They had some hard looking to do at their expectations for them, for Rick and their family. Do they become bitter, resentful at their son, at the rest of their family and the world for plopping “this” into their life, for not getting what they expected with Rick? Do they think “woo is me! What have I done to deserve this?”
….or did they look past themselves, past their circumstances to the person behind it all? Did they find there was a REAL little boy there, with his own REAL thoughts and fears, sense of hope and humor?
To me, they must have done this. They must have counted their lucky stars to have such a vibrant, loving boy in their midst. Perhaps they decided to look at it as their good fortune to have been blessed with Rick and allowed themselves to bless him in return. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in their house as they were raising their children. I know it wasn’t all fun and games – that they probably really struggled at times with their decision to keep Rick at home with them….but still the love and determination they have for their family….wow.
And I think all of this because they adjusted or removed all of their expectations. And in the end Rick surpassed any of what they thought he could do. Some might argue that the parents “expected” Rick to go to school and graduate – that is how he got into school at a time when other handicap students were not allowed. But I would argue that they didn’t expect this…because if they did – if this was the way they approached all the obstacles in their way – you wouldn’t see the radiant joy in their faces. No, I think they had goals for Rick and for them as they were raising him…and they fought to achieve them. And when they did get them – they were ecstatic!
Yes, I think we can even learn something from Rick. I am sure from many handicap people we have many lessons to learn. That he wasn’t thinking he was “down on his luck”, but that he was grateful for what his mom and dad helped him to do…and then went on to accomplish on his own – graduating from high school and college & living on his own in an apartment! If he had had a “woo is me” attitude instead of a grateful attitude – he would have never accomplished all that he has accomplished.
So, this next week at least, I challenge you to these 3 things:
1) Watch, Watch and then watch the video again until they TEAM HOYT spirit seeps into your very soul and starts to bubble out in your attitude toward life and your loved ones.
2) Get a copy of Dennis’ book and start to read it (libraries are good sources!)
3) Start to cultivate a life of gratitude/thankfulness in every opportunity.
Let me know if you do any of this and how it affects you!