Last Friday in Cowtown Houston was Go Western Day. That morning parents hastily made sure their kids were adorned with cowboy and cowgirl attire fitting for their day at school. Today, looking out the window and feeling the cold breeze and gloomy drizzle sky that signaled that the Parade downtown, the Trail Riders, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are here again.
My thoughts drifted back to my childhood days and to my Hero Roy Rogers. As an adult now I know there were many problems in the 1950s. Some of those problems remain unsolved after 70 years. Yet, at age 6 I held beliefs that Roy Rogers stood for as my true Hero. Firm beliefs I held then and even more firmly now despite polio and the losses in my life.
As a 6-year old boy, I believed that:
Life was simple.
Good always triumphs over evil.
People are mostly good.
Like heroes, I have a duty to care for and protect others from harm.
The end of something is always a new beginning.
Something good is always around the bend.
No matter how bad something is there is still hope, a way out of the darkness into the light.
Even if one could argue that my beliefs were and are not completely true, I chose to believe in their truth. Just as I choose to believe there is a benevolent God and His Angels watching over me and you every second of every day. Just as I believe that there is life after death. Even death is the beginning of a new life in Heaven.
So, just how fitting was it for me age seven to be on the stage with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger at the Dads Club on Old Katy Road as I sat in a wheelchair paralyzed from polio. For a half-hour or so I sat next to my Hero Roy. My spirit was made stronger in the presence of who and what Roy meant to me. To be kissed by Dale Evans. To pet Trigger’s soft wet nose. This light-filled moment let me know that, although paralysis was dark and dreary, joy, hope, and wonderful things were still possible. So many bad things have been transformed by God’s love into good for me.
Roy and Dale were followed by other heroes in my life. The surgeons. The anesthesiologists. The nurses in the operating room. The therapists. The special education teachers. The orthotic doctors who fitted me with braces. The pulmonologists who gave me the breath of life. They all were fighting as my heroes to ensure that what the disease of polio intended for bad was turned into good. That the ending of my physical strength was just the beginning of a new, deeper more spiritual, and joyful life. That hope was not to be killed like the motor neurons in my spine were killed by the poliovirus.
I guess in some way my journey with polio with God’s help has been a hero’s journey too. It is my prayer that after I am gone like Roy, Dale, and Trigger that others will see and remember the goodness in me that I saw in them.
God has spoken in Scripture about the strength, perseverance, and love of heroes.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Let us pray together.
God, in prayer I ask that You give me the strength and the perseverance to be Your hero to others in times of struggle, loss, or desperation.
God, may my strength and service to others be rewarded now and in the future as You have promised me in Scripture.
God, I thank You for being a great and good God, my God who is big enough to allow Your servants like me to worship You and still have living heroes to inspire and sustain us.
God, You are my armor of light. You are my everlasting hero on Earth and in Heaven. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.
Jerry Lyle says
Jack I too held Roy up as my hero. I had two uncles who lived in Apple Valley California. In 1968 I joined the US Marine Corps and went to boot camp in San Diego. On my first leave, my uncle Murl picked me up and we drove to his home. Along the way he told me one of his bowling partners wanted to meet me. We pulled into the Roy Rogers Museum. Turns out, Roy bowled on my uncle’s team. Roy met us at the door! This began a friendship for me that was very special.
He moved the museum down the mountain to San Bernardino. Roy went to the museum every day and greeted everyone who came in, he truly lived the persona of Roy Rogers. He and I used to go into the movie theater and watched many of his movies, just liked I did as a kid. He showed me all of his gun collection. It was a special moment in my life. The last time I saw him he gave me a gold encrusted glass jigger, from the museum. It sits in a glass cabinet above my desk and I think of him fondly when I look at that jigger. As a fellow Roy Rogers fan, I thought you would appreciate my story, as much as I appreciate your remembrance.