he ain’t heavy

120828 2017 Griffin Tyler 1.jpg

On December 28th, The Winnipeg Free Press showcased its best pictures of 2012. This photo was taken by photojournalist Ruth Bonneville. She tells the story behind the picture,

He ain’t heavy…he’s my brother Griffin, 13, has been carrying his brother Tyler, who has cerebral palsy, ever since he can remember. In between school activities and playing hockey seven times a week, Griffin makes time to shovel Tyler’s wheelchair ramp, get him dressed in the morning, help prepare his breakfast and medications. On some occasions, he pulls him to school on a sled. This day I caught Griffin lifting him out of his car seat and briskly carrying him across the schoolyard so he could spend some time with him on the play structure before heading to class. When asked if he ever wished he didn’t have to do all this stuff for Tyler, Griffin’s eyes well up as he quickly replies, “No, I don’t, he’s my brother and I love him very much. I will do this for him any day. There is no other way to describe it.” I chose this image as my favourite photograph of the year because to me it’s a picture of pure love in action. – Ruth Bonneville

My Mama saved the newspaper clipping for me, and it now hangs on our fridge as a daily boost of inspiration.


Yesterday, my daughter sent me this link to the Sports Illustrated Sportskids of the Year: Conner and Cayden Long. Nine year old Conner wanted to spend more time with his six year old brother, Cayden who has cerebral palsy. So, Conner decided to participate in triathlon competitions with Cayden. Together, they make up Team Long! Please take a few minutes to watch this video. The deep and profound wisdom and love that pours forth from Conner will leave you speechless.

A picture of pure love in action? You bet! Too often in my daily reading and watching of the news, I’m left feeling drained and sucked of all energy. Where is the compassion? Where is the basic human desire to reach out and give each other a hand? These young boys are proof that true goodness can and does exist. Their love gives us all hope.

(If, like me, you can’t read these stories without the song…. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother by the Hollies)

6 thoughts on “he ain’t heavy

  1. I had a severely brain injured sister who lived to be only three years old. As a teenager I was involved in her care, especially when my parents had exhausted all their energies caring for her. Because of that experience I chose a career working as teacher, counselor and social worker with blind children and their parents. I loved every minute of those thirty-two years and attributed both my success and perseverance to my little sister’s intercession for me.

    1. I couldn’t help thinking about the wonderful adults these young boys would become….generous, caring, compassionate. The qualities they already possess will continue to be a gift to a world so in need of love in action. Your story reflects this so well, Ray. Thank you!

  2. I’m pretty much a news junkie…
    And I know that, more often than not, I am on the lookout for a certain kind of news… items that “confirm” what I think, what I want to hear.
    Often, it’s news that only upsets me, or infuriates me even more… given what is usually reported on…
    I’m guilty of doing this even with your blog…
    While it certainly is good to keep abreast of the events, too much of something is not always good.
    I often think that there should be a site that reports on the good things in our lives, the positive things… not necessarily to proselityze. or even to evangelize… just so that human beings inspire other human beings to be and to do good, to love…
    After all, despite everything, I, we, do believe that the Jesus and the Spirit are alive, and well, are everywhere present, always helping us to be what we really are…
    That is true Church… true communion.
    So…yes… when all is said and done… your article on openness for Christmas Eucharist (where having our loved ones present, in communion, is really what is important)… your gushing article about Les Miz (I’m trying not to be cynical about Anne Hathaway’s dress!) and the issues it raises… this last article about the brothers (Remember the Canadian acrobatic skier Alexandre Bilodeau and his brother Frédéric?) also choked me up… and what I felt was the joy… the confirmation of love…
    Keep on truckin’ (or bikin’… or whatever) !

    1. Yikes, Gilles…..put down the mirror. The reflection of the news junkie is too close for comfort! Hmmm….actually, you make a really good point about seeking news that confirms our own beliefs and issues. This could be a good topic for a post.

      Here’s to seeking the good news around us more. And, yes, a site that promotes the goodness would be wonderful. If you get it started I’ll happily subscribe! Now, there’s an idea…hint, hint… 😉

      Biking is pretty hard with -30C wind-chills. The steel horse is tucked away for the winter. How many sleeps til spring??? 🙂

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