Ironman

Yesterday we skipped church, didn’t do errands, and didn’t go to our church small group meeting in the afternoon. It was family day. We went to bed Saturday night feeling like our days were over-scheduled and we were pushing the kids too hard. We needed a day that was not goal- and schedule-driven. So we slept late, ate too many pancakes and spent the day just futzing around at home. I mowed the lawn, the kids painted pictures. It was a good day to just be together. But that’s not what today’s post is about.

Last week we woke up on time and we went to church. We love our church and I almost always look forward to going, even though it means a 40 minute drive each way, from Montara to Menlo Park. We’ve recently started a new sermon series and our teaching pastor, John Ortberg, has been knocking our socks off with good sermons. Last week was especially good and it fits in with the theme I’ve been working on here. Last week John told us the story of Dick Hoyt and his son Rick.

If you read the article linked to above you will see that Rick was born severely disabled and that his father began running races while pushing Rick in a wheel chair. After many years they were able to compete in the Boston marathon and have even competed in the Ironman triathalon series. They have competed together for many years now and have completed more than 85 marathons many Ironman triathalons. As John said last Sunday, imagine how it must feel to be a pumped up 25 year old competing in the Ironman and to be passed in the swimming event by a senior citizen towing another guy in a dingy. But as impressive as the story is, you just can’t grasp the enormity of the love that is shared between those two men unless you see them in action.

John showed us some video segments of Rick and Dick competing together. In the video of the swimming portion of a triathalon you see them come to shore and the father picks up the thin, twisted, broken body of his son and even though he’s clearly tired he gently carries Rick up the beach to the tents where they will put on their cycling gear. Even though they’re trying to make good time, Dick first cares for his son, getting him safely strapped into his chair on the bike and giving him something to drink before preparing for the bicycling portion of the event.

To see the sight of this big Dad carrying the broken body of his son brought tears to my eyes. It is an incredible expression of the fatherly love. When society was willing to write off his son Dick refused to park him in an institution and let him be forgotten. And when he discovered that running gave his son joy Dick pursued it, even though it cost him an enormous sacrifices in physical training, time and financial resources. Those men have been given power by their love as the Bible has promised us will happen.

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Explore posts in the same categories: church, fatherhood

One Comment on “Ironman”

  1. Mike Miller Says:

    Man, I heard about them several years back but haven’t thought about it since I had my own kids. Amazing. Makes me feel very, very lazy.


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