Heroes of the Faith: Chris (1961-2009) and Tracy (1965?-) Klicka
“My children, don’t feel sorry for me . . . “
Have you ever taken that perfect trip? No. There are invariably snags or shortcomings or schedule snarls to reintroduce reality to that dream vacation. The Christian walk is not some lilly-padded excursion. It is a sobering sojourn, with a departuring destination determined; but the directions, and the drive, will have detours, distractions, and discouragements. The Apostle Paul was mindful of the minefields which marred his mission. And his motivation? “. . . one thing I do . . . I press on” (Philippians 3.12-13). The vital notion of “pressing on” is a noble virtue. Chris and Tracy Klicka exemplified the duty and delight of being persistent in the pursuit, even when the trail was teeming with trials and trauma.
History—The Klickas’ “Everyday” Life
Chris was raised in Milwaukee, and Tracy is a native Buckeye from Cleveland. They met as students at Grove City College, dated, and married while Chris was in law school. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Washington, D.C., and Chris began his career as the first full-time attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), escalating to Senior Counsel and Director of State and International Relations. Tracy was equally busy at home, with four children, and pregnant with twin daughters, in their first ten years together. (Homeschoolers themselves, the Klicka household was eventually blessed with five daughters and two sons.)
Heritage—The Klickas’ Earthly Labors
In 1994, Chris began experiencing numbness, tingling, and fatigue. At the height of his work for HSLDA, he was diagnosed with Chronic Progressive MS. The prognosis was not promising. They were told, “You should just hope the rate of decline is slow.” Chris would not be deterred by the disease, but instead devoted himself to championing the cause of homeschooling, arguing before three Supreme Courts, among other ernest endeavors. HSLDA president Michael Smith remarked, “[Chris] was the most determined person I ever met in my life. . . . He continually wanted to tackle new challenges and serve homeschoolers in more and better ways.” Chris and Tracy became cognizant of the “fellowship of [Christ’s] sufferings.” Yet, they would press on and prosper in terms of eternal reward.
Horizons—The Klickas’ Enduring Legacy
Their pathway was paved with debilitating hurt, disappointing hurdles, and deteriorating health. But they demonstrably displayed a “positive outlook” and “formidable faith.” While the multiple sclerosis more and more suppressed his motor skills and muscular strength, he could extol unabashedly, “I am blessed beyond belief,” and exclaim unashamedly “My Father ordained this disease.” Pressing on, Chris maintained a tireless speaking and writing schedule, marching forward as a crusading advocate and campaigning architect of the many privileges the homeschooling community is endowed with, and enjoys, today. The ruinous regression was relentless and remorseless, and Chris died at age 48. The residual rewards of his robust results, through the years of struggling and straining, will recurrently be revealed as more families turn their hearts, and their children, toward home. Chris would write near the end, “Am I blessed? Without question. God gives me full-time employment at the best job in the world, and it is work for His people. He uses me to give, although I have nothing of myself to give.” Will we carry on and confront the mounting challenges within and without, and declare decisively, “God is good . . . all the time!?”
Recommended Reading For Further Focus:
Klicka, Christopher J. The Heart of Homeschooling: Teaching & Living What Really Matters. Broadman & Holman, 2002.
Klicka, Christopher J. Power Perfected in Weakness. Shepherd Press, 2010.