By Mark Ellis and Michael Ashcraft
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- After Tim Howard stopped a record 16 shots during the World Cup game against Belgium, an overly exuberant American edited Wikipedia’s listing of the U.S. Secretary of Defense and inserted the goalie’s name.
Howard’s moment of earthly glory proved fleeting – which is fine with him because he likes to direct his praise elsewhere. “Some people bask in that glory,” Howard, 35, told Campus Crusade for Christ. “For me, it is a burden.”
“I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding,” he told the Huffington Post in a separate interview.
Howard grew up in a single mother household in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in relative poverty. His mother was from Hungary and divorced when he was three. Amid the difficulties, his grandmother became a point of reference, her deep faith in Christ setting the tone for Howard’s life.
“She was always the glue, the rock that held everything together,” Howard noted in an interview with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “She did it very quietly and very humbly. That was powerful. What always stood out about my grandmother for me was her compassion. In the midst of any storm, she had so much peace, which clearly came from one source: God.”
In addition to the struggles inherent in a single parent household, Howard also suffered from unexplainable outbursts that created enormous embarrassment and insecurity. Not until he was in the fifth grade were the mysterious spasms diagnosed as Tourette’s Syndrome. Knowing the diagnosis gave him a measure of peace, but the terror of never knowing when or how it would strike next haunted him.