Heroes. I read the story of a hero recently in John Ortberg’s book about Jesus: Who is this Man?. Dick Hoyt and his wife welcomed their son Richard into the world broken. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck. His brain was deprived of oxygen, and he would never walk or even talk. They took him home with determination to love him and enjoy each day with him.
At age eleven, they took Richard to Tufts University to the engineering department with a request. They wanted to see if a device could be made so they could communicate with their son. The engineers told the parents that his brain was not capable of communication. Right then and there, Dick asked them to tell Richard a joke. When they did, Richard laughed. They designed a communication button that Richard could bang his head against since that was the only body part he has control over.
The years passed and one day Richard heard about a benefit race being run to help a young man who had been paralyzed. Richard typed out with his head the message: I want to run. Now Dick was not in the best shape, but somehow he managed to push his son in a wheelchair and complete the race. Astonishingly, Richard said: When I ran, I did not feel disabled.
This spurred his father to run even more. Dick has since pushed his son those 26.2 miles more than 85 times, and he has pushed, pulled and carried his son through more than 200 triathlons. Dick got his marathon down almost to 2 ½ hours, just 30 minutes behind the fastest runners in the world. That’s amazing. But, what is even more amazing is that when Dick is called a hero, he points to his disabled son and says, He’s the hero. He’s my inspiration.
When I read this story, I thought of the power of love. How much a father could love a son and how much our Father loves us. I thought of the commitment of Jesus to take us in his arms and carry us in all of our brokenness. I thought that when he is carrying us we don’t feel broken. We feel whole. I thought: I want to run.