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Count Your Blessings

Patrick Henry Hughes Website

I was fully prepared to listen to a sermon this morning at church regarding what it means to be a great father. I am lucky enough to have a great Dad and several great father-figures in my life, so I felt like I knew how the message was going to go. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised!

As always, I was searching for a seat while the choir was singing their first song. Since I didn’t know it (sorry, but I’m an old-fashioned hymn kind of girl!), I found myself looking through the bulletin to check out what was going on in the church. Guess how excited I got when I read that Patrick Henry Hughes was the guest speaker! Some know him from seeing him on Extreme Home Makeover, ESPN, Oprah, Ellen or have simply heard about his physical limitations. Although he would never call them disabilities, but “abilities”.

To say that my heart was happy and full when I left church this morning is an understatement. It doesn’t take much to realize just how lucky and blessed we really are. Before Patrick and his Dad spoke, they played a documentary that ESPN featured on him. What a testament not only on his spirit to never give up or ask why, but to his parents. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. Oh…I’d grab a tissue!

After the video the congregation welcomed Patrick and his father. I was secretly hoping that he would play the piano for us and I was very excited when his father wheeled him right up to it. He then said he was going to play a song for us that he always thinks of when faced with a challenge or hard time. Then, he began to flawlessly play Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe”. Yes, I was crying. While he was playing I noticed out of the corner of my eye a woman that I had recognized from our recent Daviess County Relay For Life. I remembered her for obvious reasons… glasses, a beautiful smile and a shiny bald head. I remember her taking one of the beginning laps of the night. Watching a blind 24 year old, with a webbing of the joints disability play and sing with such passion and seeing a woman either battling or in the recovery stages of battling cancer touched by Patrick’s playing and singing made me realize how lucky I really am. We all, me included, get so caught up in our own struggles that we forget others around us. We forget that while what we’re going through is tough, and while we may have to take things literally, one day at a time, there is someone out there, going through a far-more challenging situation, with a smile on their face.

Patrick’s dad, who worked the graveyard shift at UPS so he could take his son to class and band practice every day, said that he doesn’t look at what others have, but how lucky he is to have what he does. Wow, we should all do that.

Towards the end of the service, Patrick said, “Count your blessings. We have food on the table, a roof over our head and family.” To think that it took a young man with nothing but road blocks in front of him his entire life to make me realize that is pretty sad on my part. But, then again… it’s easy to let small, meaningless things affect our life.

Let’s all do what Patrick says,” Live your life like it’s the last day of summer vacation!” I think he needs to put this on a t-shirt!

So, maybe I didn’t get the typical Father’s Day message I was expecting, but I definitely got a great reminder on how to live my life and to be thankful for all of the little and big things that we all have.

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