I felt compelled to write this blog under the category of “Natural, Healthy Lifestyle” because there is more to a healthy life than food and exercise. Happiness is, in fact, central to gaining and maintaining physical, mental, and spiritual health. Please read the following account of one person who found health by being happy.
You may remember Scott Hamilton, the incredible ice skater. If you are younger, perhaps you never heard of him. But let me tell you just a little of his story.
Scott was adopted at 6 weeks old, unwanted. The family who adopted him was a good family. Still, when his sister saw him for the first time, she asked if they could take him back and get another baby because he wasn’t cute enough. At age four, it became evident that he was not growing or thriving and that began a four-year long journey back and forth to the hospital. Children’s hospitals were different then, a bed and a chair. At one point Scott was in a straight jacket for three days so he wouldn’t mess with his tube.
Little Scott stayed alone much of the time in the hospital. But his mom loved him, and he loved her. After four years of hospital sadness, they traveled to see a special doctor who couldn’t help him, just like the other doctors couldn’t. But the doctor told his mom to take Scott home and let him live a normal life. There was little hope of any improvement.
Scott’s mom enrolled him in an ice skating class. He loved it, even though everyone stared at him because he had a tube taped to his nose for receiving a chalky drink he had to take. Soon he was skating 5 days a week. And guess what? His health started improving, He got progressively stronger, full of life. He even grew!
He did some competition, and he always came in last. Still his mom who was a full time teacher and a mom, took on another job so that Scott could skate. The happiness he got from skating was making him well, and she knew it!
But Scott’s mom got cancer. She attended one last tournament before she died. He came in last again.
She never saw that Scott won a gold Olympic metal in 1984. She never saw that he came in first place four consecutive years in both U.S. Championships and World Championships. And what does he say was his motivation? He wanted to honor his mom who sacrificed so much so that he could skate and be happy and well.
It was happiness that made Scott strong and healthy. It was happiness and love for his mom that pushed him to achieve what he achieved. Later in life, he got cancer and brain tumors and he says it was his faith in God that caused him to use that suffering to take a higher road, a happy road rather than a despondent road.
Here is Scott and his wife and his two biological sons and two adopted children. Scott says, “Thank you cancer. If I hadn’t gotten cancer I wouldn’t have my wife and children.” (His wife was a nutritionist for Whole Foods when he had cancer.)
Please take a look at one of Scott’s skating routines . Notice his joy. Notice how he didn’t let the suffering in his life rob him of the potential that lived inside of him, that his mom saw, that God put there, and that Scott laid hold of.