This weekend attended the 150th annual Highland Games in Pleasanton. We’ve been attending Games throughout the valley for several years, but this particular site is one of the largest in the country. For the last handful of years, my parents have hosted our Clan MacFarlane tent. They do an amazing job setting up a welcoming place for MacFarlanes to come and learn more about their heritage or catch up with friends. They’ve even won awards for their efforts!
This year I decided to help out in the tent all weekend, so Ryan brought the boys over for a few hours on Saturday. We watched a few sheepdog trials (which the boys were far more interested in than I thought they’d be), and enjoyed some sword fighting demonstrations in the Living History section. We’ve seen this particular band of reenactors at the Monterey Games as well, and they always do such a great job of engaging the kids. They let the boys take turns holding a broadsword…When it was Ryder’s turn, he said, “You know what? I’m actually only using one hand to hold this up. My right arm is paralyzed.” Still in character, the man said, “Well then, it looks like we may have ourselves a real swordsman here!” Oh, the look of pride on my mighty warrior’s face 🙂One of Ryder’s all-time favorite memories from any Games we’ve attended is from last year, when he showed off for the Marines. They always have a booth set up where young hotshots can try to do a certain amount of pull-ups to win prizes. They usually aim their efforts at teenagers in order to recruit, so they weren’t all that excited when our five-year-old kilted laddie asked for a turn on the bar. The young marine helped him up and was prepared to catch him… but he didn’t need to, and was clearly impressed by Ryder’s EIGHT unassisted pull-ups (my camera ran out of battery and cut off the end). He received a lanyard for his efforts, and wore it proudly for quite a while.
This year, we walked past the Marines a few times, but we were relieved that Ryder never really noticed because we knew it could be really sad for him. I got home pretty late Saturday night, and when I went in to check on the boys, something caught my eye. I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick photo, and what I found took my breath away. Ryan explained that after they kissed me goodbye, they passed the Marines one last time. And this time, Ryder insisted on doing some pull-ups. With Daddy’s help, he mustered up the strength and courage to attempt something he used to do so easily on his own. And they rewarded him with this beautiful poster, which he proudly hung near his bed.At first I didn’t notice the last word. All I saw was “There is no easy way…” And boy, don’t we know it! This year has not been an easy one for us. But we’ve been through tough years before, and God has always provided and protected us. We’ve always come out the other side stronger and closer than before, and this experience will not be an exception to the rule.
“I have told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world, you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Our little fighter doesn’t have it easy. But he has the heart of a warrior, and more courage than most adults I know. He understands that the same God who created every cell in his body seven years ago is the same One who is working to heal his body now.
“For I am about to do something new. See? I have already begun…” Isaiah 43:19
So we continue to pray for rapid and complete healing so miraculous that it defies all medical and human understanding.
There are many legends in Scottish history, and the MacFarlane clan has some real doozies! But a story like Ryder’s will stand up through the ages as well. We’ll be able to tell his children and grandchildren and his great-grandchildren about how his body was injured but his spirit never got the memo. And about the God who carried us through it all.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
(By the way, the phrase “Loch Sloy” in the title of this post is our clan’s war cry, which means “This I’ll defend.”)