When I was six with polio and in quarantine in the hospital, at my age, I was incapable of understanding how a democracy works, the importance of the rule of law, or in following the United States Constitution. I did know that I did not understand why I could not move my arms or legs or why I could not be home with Mom and Dad. I did not understand how I could ever fit in again or how I could ever belong to what had been or what I had taken for granted.
In that lonely place, an Episcopal minister came into my hospital room dressed in black, a white clerics collared shirt, a smile, and holding a little red book which to me became a sort of Declaration of Independence from the bondages of paralysis.
Father Skarden Daubert said, “Son, I have a small book of prayers I want to give you.” He carefully opened the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and placed the book in my hands. I could not turn the pages. But, I was always able to do what Skarden Daubert asked of me next. “Son, would you like to say a prayer with me from this book?” I nodded, yes.
Almost every day that year at Hedgecroft Hospital Father Daubert came into my room and brought the love and hope of God to me as we prayed together. Most of the emptiness in not understanding my condition and loneliness was filled with what he and prayer did for me every day.
As I held that book of prayers in my hands (which got stronger every day like my faith in God), I swear I could almost feel the healing hands of Jesus holding mine.
Before I was discharged to go home to my family, Father Daubert wrote his name and an inscription in that book just for me. Eight years later I took that prayer book with me to Cy-Fair High School every day. The Principal, Roy Metcalf, asked me to say a prayer over the intercom to the teachers and students at the beginning of classes each day just before the Pledge of Allegiance.
One morning I came to the front office to say the daily prayer. My prayer book was missing. I never found it.
Last week in Washington D.C. at the Capital when the Electoral Votes were being counted a lot happened that I could not understand either. It was not my little red prayer book, but something very special and highly important to America was missing.
And to address the lack of understanding and what was missing and what is needed to heal this Nation as I was healed from polio many years ago, I ask, “Would you, my brothers and sisters, say this prayer with me from that little red Book of Common Prayer?”
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 www.BendingAngel.com website.