His name is Ethan Hendon, and he’s the son of my niece and nephew, Cassandra and Shawn. Born with a congenital defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, the left side of Ethan’s heart is underdeveloped.
So, physiologically he’s struggling, but spiritually and mentally the little guy is thriving and making a tremendous difference in the lives of others.
Just the other day I received word that Ethan’s school has raised nearly $4,000 in his name for the American Heart Association. Not only will those funds help other children who are struggling with cardiovascular disease, but his indomitable optimism and perspective have given other parents both temporal and eternal hope.
Ethan has also been teaching me – and I think his story might even help you.
Here are five things that every person can learn from the extraordinary life of five-year-old Ethan:
1. Play the hand you’re dealt
Having been born with this condition, Ethan doesn’t waste time complaining about what could be. Instead, he accepts his lot and trusts that his life is in the Lord’s hands.
2. You don’t need music to dance
Your energy may be waning, but all you need is passion in your heart and mind in order to play and feel God’s pleasure.
3. Sometimes it’s the interruption on our way to the main thing – that’s really the main thing
After fifteen surgeries, Ethan has learned that schedules and plans are man’s doing – not the Lord’s.
4. Life isn’t easy – but God is always good
I don’t always have to understand what God is up to – but I do need to remember that He’s always up to something good for those who love Him.
5. Every day is a gift
Are you going to treasure and spend today well – or fritter away the precious time in front of the television? Don’t wait. Live the life God gave you – today!