Monday, October 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Thomases

Every August, Nick and I get excited. Yes, we love celebrating our anniversary, we love going to the coast, but to us, August means something more.

It means the beginning of Duck football. And when we say "Duck football," it's usually whispered in reverent tones. We love the game that much.

And yes, that might be why I went into labor early with our firstborn (our quarterback got injured and I was really upset), our second child could correctly identify a touchdown before he knew his ABCs and we have paid a ridiculous amount of money for cute Duck headbands for our daughter.


On Saturday, Nick and I watched as our beloved Ducks whomped the Washington Huskies 45-24 in Seattle. A player we've been keeping an eye on all season is Thomas Tyner.
A local Oregon boy, he was one of the nation's top recruits last year as a high school senior from Aloha. And as a college freshman, he's proved just as exciting to watch as a Duck as he was at the prep level. True to form, he played very well in his limited minutes. He's quick (did I mention he's also a track star?), agile, strong and smart when he runs.

"Man," I told Nick, "Wouldn't it be awesome if one of our boys grew up to be as awesome as Thomas Tyner?"

On Sunday, we went to First Baptist Church in Eugene. And we learned about a different Thomas.

Thomas Long was born at 28 weeks weighing only a few pounds and with cerebral palsy. He has a lot of medical issues. He can't dart around a defender, bench press twice his weight or even toss a football.

But put him in his wheelchair and take him running, and he's quick to smile and love life.

Thomas just finished his first half-marathon last week. And as he spoke to us through labored voice, he reassured everyone that God can use us exactly how we are. He doesn't require perfection of body, mind or heart -- only a willing spirit.

I couldn't help but think of what different lives Thomas Tyner and Thomas Long lead (though they booth cheer for the U of O, of course!). And yet they are both using their bodies to their maximum potential.

As much as I love football, I have a feeling Thomas Long has learned more in his lifetime about grace, patience, love and compassion than Thomas Tyner (or I) ever will.

"Man," I told Nick, "Wouldn't it be awesome if one of our boys grew up to be as awesome as Thomas Long?"