Dick Hoyt's story reminds us of the power of love.
In 1981, Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick, completed their first Boston Marathon. Unlike other running partners, they did not run side-by-side or one in front of the other. Instead, Dick pushed Rick in a wheelchair.
When he was born in 1962, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic after his umbilical cord strangled him during birth and severely damaged much of his brain. Doctors said that Rick would never walk, talk, or do anything at all. The Hoyts were encouraged to institutionalize their son. But they decided not to follow doctor’s orders.
Since 1981, the Hoyts have raced in almost 30 Boston marathons and over 1000 road races, including duathlons and triathlons (6 of them Ironman competitions). Their passion for racing began in the spring of 1977, when Rick told his father he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. No one expected the Hoyts to finish but Dick pushed his son the entire 5 miles, coming in next-to-last.
Some people believe that Dick could have been a very competitive professional athlete. But Dick doubts it—and doesn’t want to race alone. “He [Rick] inspires me and he motivates me. He is very competitive and he wants to win.” Dick says he feels he can go faster while pushing his son, and Rick loves racing with his father.
And while Rick can't speak to verbalize his enthusiasm, he displays his excitement for racing through smiles and noises that demonstrate a special communion between a dedicated father and son. When Dick talks about the joy his son gets from racing, his eyes fill with tears.
Their story is a reminder of the power of love. Dick’s dedication to his son has helped him do more than race. In fact, Rick lives alone and even graduated from college. He is the first nonspeaking person to have graduated from Boston University. Through special technology, Rick is able to communicate his thoughts by tapping his head on a device on his wheelchair.
Like Rick, we are all bound by frail human bodies that will one day die. Also like Rick, we have a Father who loves us. When we see our Lord face-to-face, we will know that He has carried us—and sometimes even pushed us—through our earthly race, encouraging us to win. We will finally be free from the limitations of our earthly bodies, and our spirits will no longer be crippled by sin. We will be able to dance and sing before the Lord, finally surrounded by God’s glory to enjoy His loving presence forever.
Revelation 21:4 says of Heaven: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Philippians 3:20-21 says that our citizenship is in heaven and that Christ will, “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body...”
Can you imagine? All believers in Christ will be free from emotional pain and will receive new and glorified bodies, too.