Wednesday, October 28, 2009

62) Unsung Heroes (2)

"If you follow the steps of your father, you learn to walk like him." West African Proverb

Fathers have stout hearts, which have to be broken sometimes to know what is inside. The short stories that follow let us peep into those hearts, through the broken pieces.

1) Alan Redpath, former Pastor of Moody Memorial Church, tells of the time when there was tension at home and hot words were exchanged. But as they sat at dinner, his father looked across at his wife and said: "I'm sorry I spoke to you the way I did. I'm ashamed of myself". The meal ended quietly. In the night, Alan knelt in prayer and begged God to make him the man his father was: "O God, I thank thee for a father like that. Make me more like him.

John Nicholson explains why fathers do the things they do: "The quality of a child's relationship with his or her father seems to be the most important influence in deciding how that person will react to the world". That could have been the reason Alan's father swallowed his pride before he swallowed his food, to apologize to his wife and set an example to his children. Only strong men apologize; and fathers have to be strong.

2) Rick was a born paraplegic. Once he told his father, Dick Hoyt, that he would like to participate in a 5 mile race. Promptly his father agreed. He made the boy sit in a wheelchair and pushed him the entire 5 miles. After that, Rick wished to take part in more races - the thrill had got to him. His father who was not an athlete, had to practise running and swimming for many hours to be fit for the races. In one race, the Ironman (the most difficult triathlon), Dick swam with Rick in tow for 4 kilometres in the ocean, then cycled for 180 kilometres, with his son on the cycle, and ended the race with a 42 kilometres marathon, carrying his son. The total distance Dick covered in that race, was 226 kilometres. The pair took part in many races, although it was not easy for Dick to push, run, cycle and swim with his boy attached to him, all through the race. During one such race Dick suffered a heart attack. Thankfully, he recovered. Asked why he kept doing what seemed impossible, he replied: "I run only because of my son". That was one way he showed his son that he loved him. He was prepared to do anything for his son, even with a broken heart. It is amazing how much a father's love can achieve.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

61) Unsung Heros (1)

"I will always be there for you. I hope you know." Helen M.Exley

There are many stories told of a mother's love. Here are two.

1) An uneducated 46 year old Malaysian mother shows us how to cheerfully embrace the parenting vocation. Widowed 10 years ago, she raised her two children with an unshaken resolve. Her 24 year old daughter graduated from university recently. She hopes that her 14 year old son will also graduate, in time. Doing a cleaning job in an Institution, she works on shifts from 7-30AM to 11-30PM, and on alternate days, from 7-30AM to 3-30PM, not availing of holidays, to earn overtime wages. To save money for her children she walks to work, instead of boarding a bus or local train. As she recovers from breast-cancer-surgery, she speaks of her attitude to life. It is not the problems of life that matter, but how we react to them, she muses. If you look at a situation as a problem, she reasons, it will assume the dimensions of one. Rather, if you look at it as an opportunity, you will find avenues, she assures us. Cheerfully, she adds, that she has no demands or complaints. She is at peace, happy and encouraged by good friends. For a woman who has not been to school, she packs much wisdom into her words.

2) A 5 month old premature daughter with malformed limbs tests her mother's love. The mother does not fail. The daughter is now 16 and does not stop praising her mother. What would have happened to her, without her mother? She shudders at the question. Tending to every need, because she could not help herself, her mother cared for her through every doctor visit, every surgery and every ordeal for 16 years. Now she moves around like a normal person. Grieving for the sacrifices her mother made, she admits that things were extremely tough with financial stress compounding their woes, after her father deserted the family. But her mother would not let that come in the way of medical attention her daughter needed. She juggled part time jobs with full time nursing of a helpless child.