Matt W.C. Joy

Heroes Amongst Us

In Uncategorized on 06/11/2009 at 10:36 am

hero amongst usNow that the Major League Baseball season is over (and we endured another year of not seeing the championship come back to Canada! Just needed to get that off of my chest), I can look back and think of different highlights that I enjoyed as a fan.  I always love opening day as it is packed with optimism.  I think even Kansas City Royal fans have hope on opening day.  I think of the tremendous start the Jays had and how the hope that ‘this was the year’ spread coast to coast.   I warmly embrace the memory of the hot Southern California day that Kayla, Kendrick, and I went to see the Angels and Mariners (Angels win and Howie KENDRICK got player of the game).  I enjoyed watching when Derek Jeter took over as the all-time Yankees hits leader (incredible feat when you think of who is in that category).  BUT, I think the greatest highlight was when MLB took a few moments to shed some light on something greater than the game.

This past July at the All Star festivities in St. Louis, MLB launched a campaign called GO BEYOND and took time and intentionality to highlight “All Stars amongst us”.  Kayla and I sat on the couch stirred to the core as this video played .  As it concluded, all of these ‘All Stars amongst us’ paraded out in jerseys to the deafening sound of an incredible ovation and then surrounded by the leagues best players, who offered hugs, tipped hats, and handshakes.  In the midst of a professional sport that often makes me wonder/upset about the amount of money these players ‘earn’, I looked at Kayla and said, “Major League Baseball got it right this time”.   Take for example, one of those All Stars: Gary Lynn.  He is the child in the wheelchair that has Cerebral Palsy but refuses to be limited and defined by his disability.  Gary has started his own organization to provide hope and support for others who have Cerebral Palsy (All Star Gary). What an incredible inspiration!

I have been blessed to meet many with this same drive and determination and have leave no doubt that they are real life all stars.  Some have even entered ‘hero’ status in my view and I don’t want to be guilty of taking their contribution to my life for granted or of not celebrating it!  Thomas J. Peters, an american business leadership guru, encourages us, “to celebrate what we want to see more of”.

Today, I choose to celebrate a life that has demonstrated grace under fire and shouted integrity from the valley.  One who knows difficulty and has met pain, yet one who lives triumphantly and chooses joy.  His name is Len – known to some as Pastor, but to me as Uncle Len.   As a Pastor, Uncle Len represented God faithfully and impacted communities and individuals with unwavering hope.  Then one day many years ago, this tremendous man was diagnosed with ALS  or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (What is ALS?) .  It has taken a tremendous toll on his physical body,  but because of the fact that the hope he preached resides within him, I have received so much inspiration and true joy by being in his presence and thinking of his smile.  Even today I heard of how my hero is reaching out to touch lives in real ways! The picture featured here in this segment of heading4home is of Uncle Len, Kendrick, and I.  There is so much that I have learned from this hero amongst us that I long to pass on to my son, and this pic captures it.

Like Paul’s expression of thanks to the church in Colosse , I thank God that in Uncle Len, “the lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope”[Colossians 1:3-8].

Celebrate a Hero.  Be a Hero.

  1. Just a very fitting discription of a believer whos life stands as a tremendeous testimony of faith under fire. Great job again Matt.

  2. His Solider shows no signs of pain or suffering, He only shows the love of God. Never wavering, Never slowing… This solider is my Inspiration.

    I love you Uncle!

  3. Hi Matthew
    Thanks for taking the time to honour the sometimes forgotten ,by man and not by God. You certainly covered it off so well. Your articles has a great flow to it and brings out the message well
    Mom & Dad

  4. Pastor Matt. This has been a truly inspiration article. I have been moved and motivated to be a Hero and do what I can for people and for God. Thank you for posting this, and I look forward to more posts to come.

  5. Matt
    Fine article. I have never met you but I have met your Uncle Len.
    He is one SUPERMAN. You cannot get a BIGGER smile from a person who is walking the road he is on. He is a REAL man with a REAL influence. he is making a differance. Thank you for honouring him

    • I like that…”a real man with a real influence”. Thanks for taking the time to reply with these comments. Means a lot coming from someone who knows Uncle Len.

  6. Authentic words, some true words dude. Totally made my day!

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