Sunday, April 27, 2008

One of My Heroes

"There is no such thing as false hope, only false hopelessness."

-Chad Hymas
When every missionary returns home from his assignment, he reports to his local Stake High Council. I reported to the Tooele Utah South Stake High Council the Tuesday after I returned home from Ecuador. I walked into the High Council room and saw a long table lined by twelve chairs, six on each side. At the head of the table was another table with three chairs. More chairs lined the walls on either side of the table.
I sat in a chair along the edge of the wall and waited for my time to speak. A younger man in a wheel chair rolled into the room and asked if I could help him with his laptop computer. I was happy to comply as he took his place at the table as a member of the High Council.
As I talked about my experiences in Ecuador and shared my testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith, the man in the wheel chair didn't stop smiling.
A few days later, I received a call from the man in the wheelchair and learned his name was Chad Hymas. He asked if I could accompany him and speak with him at a ward within our stake. I happily agreed. (If you know me, you know I love to speak in Church).
The next Sunday, I went to the ward and presented my message. Then Chad began his talk. He praised me for my testimony and my ability to convey it. And he told his story.
For years, Chad had been active and vibrant. He was married and had children. He loved athletics and working outdoors. By his mid-twenties, he had accomplished his goal of owning an Elk Ranch. But on April 3, 2001 everything changed.
Chad was hurrying to go see his son take his first steps. First, he needed to feed his elk. He loaded a one-ton bale of hay onto his tractor, but by accident, the bale slipped from the tractor's forks and landed on his head.
His neck was broken, and he became a twenty-seven-year-old quadriplegic.
Yet the bale of hay didn't break Chad's spirit. Despite painful surgeries and physical therapy, Chad has not stopped moving forward, filled with gratitude to God for the many blessings He has given him. (Click here to read Chad's accomplishments).
I left that meeting filled with love for Chad. He was a man I wanted to be like.
Thankfully, over the next year, I had the opportunity to speak with Chad several more times.
Today, Chad spoke to our ward. He told of an experience he had with his son, the same son who started walking on the same day Chad lost the ability to walk. Chad's son had been preparing to be baptised, and Chad was trying to teach him about faith, that faith means believing in things which aren't seen but which are true.
After their discussion, his son wanted proof that Chad could once walk since he was only a baby when Chad became a quadriplegic. Chad pointed to the scars on his neck where the doctors had repaired his fractured spine. Then he pointed to his hip and the scars from where the doctors took some of his hip bone to repair his neck.
His son looked at the scars and said, "Dad, those scars on your neck and your hip are getting better. You'll be walking soon just like me."
Chad wanted to explain to his son about spinal columns, but he waited. That night, his wife discouraged him from telling his son that it was unlikely that he would ever walk again.
The next day, Chad sat down with his son and said, "Thank you for teaching me about faith and hope. And you're right. I will walk again. It may be tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or in the next life. But I will walk again."
After Chad finished his story, he turned to us and said, "My son taught me that there is no such thing as false hope, only false hopelessness."
I broke down and sobbed like a child. You see, for the past few weeks, I've been feeling hopeless and worthless. My current search for law-related employment has proven fruitless and frustrating. No one in the Utah legal job market has been interested in me. And here was Chad Hymas, a man confined to a wheel chair who may never walk again in this life. He was telling me to be of good cheer and to be happy.
To hope.
That's because through Jesus Christ and His restored Gospel, we have every reason to hope.
Chad Hymas is one of my heroes, and his message today was an answer to prayer. I hope that I will one day be able to stand at least half as tall as he.
To learn more about Chad or to invite him to come speak to you or your organization, visit his website at www.chadhymas.com.
To invite missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to your home, click here.

6 comments:

mistyp said...

Thanks for writing this down! I love hearing him (and YOU) talk in church! Hope is a great thing!

Paul said...

Thanks for sharing this story.

For the record, I have spent many days inside a courtroom over the past 3 to 4 months. I have seen several experienced defense attorneys and prosecutors in action and I have to admit that several times during deliberations I have thought of you and felt like you could do a better job than some of these other working prosecutors.

I don't mean that as a slight against the prosecutors around here because they are good at their jobs. I just know that you will be better.

Your opportunity will come and when it does you will be a better man and coworker for enduring this trial.

If you have to go to work for a Ute fan to support your family, I would understand.

Craig said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I sure would be happy to see if I am just as good as those prosecutors. Things are so frustrating right now that I might even consider working for a Ute fan, MAYBE. (I'm not that desparate yet).

Prof. Osler said...

That's a great story, Craig. And... he's right. and I'm right, too, about what is in store for you. It is going to work out.

Delajean said...

Thanks for writing about our amazing and dear friend, Chad. He is right, as is Paul, Prof. Osler and I. You are being prepared for an amazing future even though it may feel overwhelming right now. I know it is always darkest before the dawn. But, just as the sun will rise and shine, a law job will come for you, too. We ALWAYS learn most from overcoming obstacles and enduring trials. Remember 1 Nephi 20:10 "For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." I know Heavenly Father loves you (and so do all of us) and will not abandon you. Keep having faith, hope and charity and work hard! It will all come together for your best good!

Bobby said...

Great post Craig. It was so moving I myself got quite chocked up reading it. Upon reading the post I remembered that a good friend of mine stood up last Fast Sunday and bared his testimony. Among other things he talked about his visiting teaching companion. His companion has Autism and can't talk, but nonetheless loves the Gospel and loves helping people. My friend said he knew he would see his companion in Heaven where he would speak right to him and say, "We had some fun times didn't we Brother?".