As I begin my first day of the first month of a New Year, I always reflect on the lessons of the past, the blessings today, and the harvest of happiness, love, and joy I hope to experience in the next 365 days.
Last week, I reflected on my Cy-Fair High School days. Like most healthy teenage boys, I so much wanted to have a relationship with a girl. Not just any girl, but a special one. One of my heart’s desire. But how? I was disabled and different because of polio.
I had my eyes on one of the pretty, smiling cheerleaders. She was not the least interested in me. She dated the good-looking, strong athletes who played football and basketball. One of my classmates was David Kubiak. He was one of those guys I could not compete with. David was a fine, handsome young man. David had all the physical gifts I would never have.
I had another dear high school friend, then and now. Gary Miller. Gary had no problem dating the prettiest and most fun girls at Cy-Fair. Looking at Gary, I have to admit I was guilty of one of the Seven Deadly Sins—Envy. Gary had recently transferred to Cy-Fair at a time when the cool surfer-Beach Boys crowd had moved to the Champions’ upscale neighborhood and now legendary golf course.
In class each day I closely studied Gary. I looked at the qualities which made him a magnet for the girls I dreamed to date. Highly polished shoes. Finely pressed slacks. Madras shirts. His tanned skin. His handsome head of hair was razor-cut at Houston’s stylish Norris of Houston salon. Gary topped off his attractiveness to women by wearing great-smelling cologne. He had a smile on his face most of the time too. There was a little hope for me to emulate Gary because smiling came naturally to me.
In copying Gary as perfectly as I tried it never resulted in the joy and happiness I sought to achieve. Or getting the right girl. I did what Gary did. The razor cuts. The shiny shoes. The finely pressed slacks and Madras shirts. My tanned face from sitting under a sunlamp in winter. Blond streaks of hair on my head by applying lemon juice. Wearing a trendy gold bracelet. Topped off with what I thought was the irresistible scent to women–British Sterling.
Trying to be like Gary never worked. It did not provide joy or a meaningful relationship with a girl. No matter how much I bathed in British Sterling or sought to appear as Gary, what I hoped for never materialized. After my high school years, I learned that such superficial things would never secure for me the happiness, joy, intimacy, and love I wanted.
I learned that all I had to do was to just be the person God made me. To be kind. To listen and to care. To pray. Then, God would place in my path true love. My bride, Dorothy. God would give me more to treasure as each old year passes and each New Year begins. Being my “best” me would provide a bountiful harvest of love and blessings from God.
For Christmas this year Dorothy gave me a bottle of British Sterling, a scent I have not smelled or worn in over 50 years. I wear it and do not expect or desire a single thing from it this New Year. For God and Dorothy have provided to me everything I need.
God has spoken to us in Scripture about finding love.
1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, in prayer please guide me to be the “best” me I can be. That You have ensouled in my creation the gifts I need to find love and happiness.
God, please steer me away from superficial things. Things I can buy or wear. For things and possessions can never provide me with what I need.
God, please cast from me the false belief that I can find or receive love in what I own. For to find love and happiness is to be like You. To be Your love in the world. And to one day be part of Your love forever 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.