A Sunday Kind Of Love

You know, sometimes it seems like the world is just too much. You may have fears about our economy. Lord KNOWS, there are plenty of reasons to worry about that. Business could be slow. Maybe you’re late on your mortgage. Your enemies may look like they’re getting stronger. Or, you could be the victim of a storm, and are searching for someone who is missing. Some things are just too big to tackle alone.

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. If they’re not in a marathon they are in a triathlon.. that incredibly daunting combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America. It’s an amazing record, all the more so when you consider that Rick can’t walk or talk. When Rick was born in 1962, the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and cut off oxygen to his brain. Dick and his wife, Judy, were told that there would be no hope for Rick’s development.

Despite what the doctors said, Dick and Judy were convinced he was just as intelligent as his siblings. It wasn’t easy to convince other people, though. “Because he couldn’t talk they thought he couldn’t understand, but that wasn’t true.” A group of Tufts University engineers came to the rescue, and in 1972 built Rick an interactive computer he controls with small movements of his head. Everyone soon found out that Rick was a bright, funny, and driven young man.

One day, Rick told Dick he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run for a local lacrosse player who’d been paralyzed in an accident. Dick was NOT a long-distance runner, but he agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. They finished next to last, but they felt they had achieved a triumph. That night, Dick remembers, “Rick told us he just didn’t feel handicapped when we were competing.”

For the past 25 years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in a small but heavy, firmly stabilized boat being pulled by Dick. Dick does, so Rick can be. Dick is a father. Everybody needs a father.

No matter where you stand, no matter what you’re in, no matter who you are, you have a Father too. Dick and Rick reminded me today that my Father is there to push, pull, carry and drive me through all of the seemingly impossible things in my life. Things I can’t control, things that hurt, things that matter to me. I wanted to remind you that the same is true for you. Happy Sunday.