Bad things happen to good people. That’s an old saying, I know. But it remains true. We’ve all seen it, and it never fails to confuse me. I have so many questions that I can’t seem to answer. I believe in God. I believe in the bible and in what I’ve been taught all of my life. I am certainly no great example. I cuss too much. I drink too much. I get angry too much and I don’t forgive enough.
But I believe in goodness. I believe in kindness. I believe that we should try to leave things better than we found them. I believe that your character and your heart can change the world. I truly believe that. Religion is important, and I have my own beliefs. But my favorite quote, that I try to remind myself of daily, is from the Dalai Lama: “My brain and my heart are my temples. My religion is kindness.” I strive every day to be kind. To inspire others to do the same. But I fail. I fall short. I do my best, but I find myself making negative comments or having negative thoughts.
When this happens, I feel disappointed in myself. I know that I should do better. I have no excuses, I’m just not good enough. But still, I try. When I find that I’m not being who I want to be, or acting how I want to act, I look for inspiration. I think of others who continually amaze me with their attitudes, with their positive point of view. I look to people who have had to endure unimaginable circumstances and unthinkable difficulties, yet somehow they are able inspire others. They are strong beyond any measure of reason. They are positive without any visible reasons to be so. You look at them, and you think to yourself, “why can’t I be like that? I want to be like that. I want to be like him.”
Todd Hicks was one of those people. He was someone who faced unbelievable tragedy, yet somehow he never stopped smiling. He never stopped having a positive attitude, believing that things were going to be ok. He never lost his faith or his trust in God. He never stopped being thankful for the life that he had. For his beautiful wife April and daughter Maggie. He loved his family, his students, coaching, and Duke basketball. You’d never know from his daily updates on Facebook that he had any physical issues of any kind. He was positive, uplifting, thankful, and the very definition of “inspirational.”
And then there’s his wife, April. What an amazing woman. To say her life these last few years has been a trial would be an understatement. She somehow was able to keep her home going, her daughter cared for and loved, all while working and taking care of Todd as his health deteriorated. Through it all, she kept a smile on her face. She was never beaten. Let there be no doubt…ALS did not win. It took Todd’s body. That is all. Because something amazing has shined brightly through all of the ugliness that ALS brought with it. Todd and April beat the disease together. They won. And not only did they win, but we got to watch. We got to see something amazing. Something that defied logic. One of those things that gives you goosebumps and brings tears to your eyes. We got to see what the human spirit is really capable of. Is it fair? Hell no it’s not fair. It’s about the most unfair thing I can even think of right now.
And although I still have plenty of questions that I’d like answered, I think I’ve come up with the answer to this question. Why did this bad thing happen to this good man and to his family? I think it’s to serve as an inspiration for every person that had the privilege of watching Todd and April’s journey. It makes me want to be a better man. It makes me hope that I can someday make just one person see me live my life, and want to do better because of it. And I bet it does you too.