It's been a couple weeks since the Olympics ended but I bet Shaun White is still wearing his gold medal wherever he goes. Many of us marveled at, cheered for, and celebrated with Shaun White as he represented America in Vancouver. Not an avid follower of half-pipe snowboarding, I have to admit I had never heard of Shaun White before the 2010 Olympics. Then I heard about this red-head who was a front-runner to win gold for America, a snowboarding phenom. THEN I heard about this phenom's heart defect. It wasn't headline news. In fact, Shaun's heart defect wasn't even mentioned in a lengthy USA Today article until about three-quarters in and was given only two brief sentences.
During interviews, mention is sometimes made of his congenital heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot), but it seems to be a mere mention, a way to highlight his athletic perseverence, not the focus. I had to dig a bit to even find his diagnosis.
Shaun White is not defined by his heart defect.*
As so many uncertainties about Luke's future swirl through my head, it's hard to imagine a day where Luke's heart is just a piece (big or small I can't say yet) of who he is. All this Shaun White coverage has got me thinking about my prayer for Luke's life, what I pray and hope defines him.
Which is what?
I pray Luke is defined by his obedience to God, even when it doesn't make sense to others.
I pray Luke is defined by how well he seeks to serve others, not by how many people serve him.
I pray Luke is defined by how closely he walks with God, not by how closely he can fit in with everyone else.
I pray Luke is defined by the high degree he loves God, not by what is written on his college degree.
Tall orders? Impossible expectations? Without God, absolutely.
A study was done once where a sociologist trekked along with several mountain climbers on their expedition to reach new heights. He quickly discovered a connection between cloud cover and contentment. "When there was no cloud cover and the peak was in view. the climbers were energetic and cooperative. When the gray clouds eclipsed the view of the mountaintop, though, the climbers were sullen and selfish. ...
"The same thing happens to us. As long as our eyes are on his majesty there is a bounce in our step. But let our eyes focus on the dirt beneath us and we will grumble about every rock and crevice we have to cross. For this reason Paul urged, “Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to the things going on around Christ — that's where the action is. See things from his perspective” (Col 3:1–2 MSG)." —From In the Eye of the Storm, by Max Lucado.
By definition, Luke, you are God's adored child and whatever you do, whatever mountains God asks you to climb, be defined by that and that alone.
*In writing this post, I kept thinking about the trailblazers like Funky Heart who have come before many of our heart kiddos. I wanted to make sure it was clear that just because adults with congenital heart defects choose to focus their efforts on bringing awareness to this disease does not mean I think they are defined by their heart. Okay, I feel better.