Seeing is not Always Believing

23 Feb

This post is a little past due, but I’m a grad student and I have been busy!

I was inspired recently by a 19 yr. old guy from Louisville, KY.  Since Aaron and I currently reside in the Bluegrass state, I was especially impressed by this “hometown” teen.  He plays the trumpet, is a member of the University of Louisville marching band, is a talented singer, exceptional piano player, gifted composer and lyricist, and an enduring optimist.  Oh, and he happened to be born without eyes or the ability to straighten his arms or legs.  His name is Patrick Henry Hughes and we can all learn a few things from him. 

The Hughes family were on the latest edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (EM:HE, on 2-17-08).  If you read my blog regularly, you already know that I think EM:HE is a show worth watching.  You can read my post about Daniel Gilyeat and know that not only do the people involved with the show bring hope to those who need it, the recipients of the new homes are usually full of inspiration and hope, despite the various tragedies and adversities that they face.  I really don’t know how ABC manages to keep outdoing the previous episode, but they do. 

Patrick Henry Hughes is an amazing testament to what unwavering faith, hope, love, and determination can accomplish.  This kid was born with some unbelievable odds stacked against him, but his parents were determined to give Patrick Henry every normal opportunity they could.  Over the years they have sacrificed so much, are raising two other children, and the fruit of their labors of love is a young man whose gifts and incredible spirit can make an enormous impact of hope in this world. 

A few details about Patrick Henry’s dad, Patrick.  When Patrick Henry was a baby, his father discovered that the piano was comforting to his baby boy.  Patrick began ‘teaching’ his son to play and by the time Patrick was two he was taking requests for simple songs.  This dad has worked the graveyard shift most of Patrick Henry’s life, so he can spend time with his son during the day.  Remember I said that Patrick Henry is a member of the marching band?  One or two problems; Patrick has no eyes and he is in a wheelchair.  Well, what are dads for?  Patrick Hughes works the graveyard shift, goes home and sleeps till 11, gets up and goes to classes all day with Patrick Henry, then becomes his son’s eyes and legs in the marching band so Patrick Henry can participate as a normal trumpeter.  And yes, he spends time with his two other sons and wife.  Sounds like quite an amazing guy.  No wonder his son has such a can do outlook.

Back to the show.  Before the family is sent away in the stretch SUV, Ty spends some time with the show’s main focus, which was Patrick Henry.  Ty is asking Patrick Henry about his life and he wanted to know if Patrick Henry had a motto he lived by.  Patrick Henry’s response even left Ty speechless, which is pretty remarkable. 

          “I see blindness not as a disability, but more an ability.  And sight actually, more as a disability.  Some people with sight tend to judge others by what they see on the outside, where as I don’t see that.  I see that which is within a person.”

I remind you he is 19 and has overcome a lot of adversity.  Talk about a guy with insight!  Yet, in everything he says and does, he is so humble and always looking for what he can do for the other person.  He sees himself as living a simple, normal life. 

EM:HE not only gave this family a wonderful new home, with a high-tech apartment so Patrick Henry can have some of the independence he wants like most 19 year olds have, the volunteers and cast also ‘built’ a new practice field for the Univ. of Louisville marching band.  Why, because when Patrick Henry was asked if there was anything he wanted, he said his band-mates deserved a level field that wasn’t a marsh when it rained. 

When Patrick Henry arrived on the marching band’s new practice field (which has a beautiful archway with a sign that says, ‘Inspired by Patrick Henry Hughes”,  he was overwhelmed by the support and admiration of so many people.  He said, “It’s true that a lot of people will say that I inspire them, but really, I’m just a guy; just an ordinary guy living my life.” 

Maybe that’s the key to his positive outlook and encouraging spirit; looking beyond what is merely visible and seeing the good that resides within.  Patrick Henry is just an ordinary guy living in an extraordinary manner.  Instead of looking at what he doesn’t have, he uses the gifts and talents he does have and makes the most of his life, not only for himself, but also for those around him.  If we could all give from what we have instead of searching for what we don’t have, maybe we can find what’s needed in each other.  Now that’s something worth seeing. 

5 Responses to “Seeing is not Always Believing”

  1. talialovesyou February 24, 2008 at 2:42 am #

    aah! i love that show, i love this guy, and i love that you took the time to share with everyone how he’s affected you. :]

  2. celia October 9, 2009 at 2:23 am #

    We watched the show about Patric Henry Hughes and my kids and i were awestruck. Is thare any way that we can communicate with his and let him know how wonderfull we think he is?


  1. Straight From the Heart: Picking My NCAA Tournament Bracket « Thorn in My Heart - March 19, 2008

    […] shot, and no Boise State is no Cinderella.  The higher ideal in me picks Louisville because of Patrick Henry Hughes, and I would love to see Boise State lose in the opening round, but it will be much sweeter if OU […]

  2. daniel gilyeat wife - July 7, 2008

    […] Aaron and I currently reside?in?the Bluegrass state, I was especially impressed?by this ???homet Pursuit of Prov. 31: Extreme Makeover Home Edition – Boey Byers …It Is All Lisa, The Preacher’s […]

  3. Picking My NCAA Tournament Bracket: From the Heart Take Two « Thorn in My Heart - March 17, 2009

    […] over (16) Morehead St.- Reason #1 for Louisville: Home and alma mater of Patrick Henry Hughes, so we know they are not short on […]

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