Fatherly Love

Like everyone, I get a lot of ‘pass along’ email. Some of it is junk, but most of it is well intended ‘sharing’ from friends and family. Given the diversity amongst my friends and families, it sometimes looks like a town hall meeting with my conservative family squared off against my liberal friends. I love them both. Some of the stuff is beautiful (like wilderness photos), some of it is funny, and some of it is inspirational. I have noticed since YouTube, more and more seems to be inspirational. I wonder why…?

Yesterday I received for the second time an article about Dick Hoyt, the father of a young man with cerebral palsy who is trapped in a body that doesn’t work well and who will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair communicating with an air hose. This young man, however, is blessed with a father whose love may equal that of other parents of handicapped children but whose commitment is extraordinary. The article reveals the father’s dedication to giving his son a lifetime of extraordinary experiences participating in a total of 942 marathons, duathalons and triathalons. These events are obviously a daunting challenge for anyone. This parent, however, does it pushing or carrying his son the whole distance. You can watch a video clip of their story or have a look at the Team Hoyt website.

While the physical feats are impressive, what was inspiring was the awesome connection that the father has with his son. This isn’t just a stunt to promote some agenda for disabled people. This is a private and intimate expression of love and willingness to put everything aside for the benefit of another human being. Words cannot explain the sheer joy the son expressed as he was racing with his father on the bicycle, being wheeled along the highway or carried across the finish line. I can hardly write without feeling tears well up in acknowledgement of these two human beings sharing something across the generations together. It comes down to what happens between these two people: it’s all about just a father and son doing something extraordinary together. It’s an inspiring demonstration that all of us can accomplish the impossible when we work together in a context of possibility and love.

I am left (as I often am these days) with a profound sense of gratitude and appreciation for what life can be. Even when we are seemingly disadvantaged, we can find support, love and dignity in our relationship with other human beings. And if we are blessed with gifts or financial resources or great genes, we can also find our true joy through service and love of those less fortunate than ourselves.