Max Bass looks up to Flowers because the Wisconsin guard represents everything that has defined the Gaithersburg child's life -- tribulation, perseverance, diligence, triumph. Michael wears No. 22, just like Max.
Flowers, though, says Max and his family have done more for his personal growth and maturity than he could ever dream of doing for them. When you discover you are the idol of a kindergartner who has battled leukemia since he was 2 1/2 , Flowers says, you grow up in a hurry.
Read the whole story and make sure you have a box of Kleenex handy.
Now as heartwarming as this story is just based on the facts, I think there is a much more profound message within this narrative. This is a story about the value and dignity of every human life. This is a story about redemptive suffering. Only God can trace all the ripples that spread from each human life story. If left to us mere mortals to judge, we might declare a life shortened by disease or scarred by suffering as a tragic mistake. Indeed, Great Britain is allowing parents to test their embryos for their potential to develop cancers as middle-aged adults. Is a life cut down by colon cancer at age fifty really not worth living?
This is not meant to trivialize sickness and suffering. We are not meant to seek out suffering. I do not wish hardships or illness or tragedy on anyone. However, we are also not supposed to fear our crosses. We are called to remember that Christ has already carried the heaviest Cross—the sins of all mankind. When we join our suffering to His Cross, we will join in the glory of His Resurrection.