During this Pandemic, it is interesting how unexpectedly things come out of the blue and hit your heart with the force of a locomotive. To take you from where you are at the moment. Then, propel you backwards in time. Then, sling you forward into the future. Then, take you back again to where you were originally. In those few fleeting moments your heart is in a much different place than where you began.
Recently, Dorothy and I had just finished dinner. As we ate pecan pie, I noticed Forrest Gump the movie, was on YouTube TV. I turned the movie on.
As a young boy with a curved spine, Forrest wore braces on his legs. Like Forrest, I, as a young boy with polio, wore a Milwaukee Brace to support my curving spine. With prayer and hard work, I had hope that brace would disappear. When Forrest ran in the movie, his leg braces miraculously broke into pieces. At that moment I was a young boy running next to him. Unlike Forrest, my back brace did not disintegrate. I was never able to run with or without the brace. But despite that, like Forrest, I was born and blessed by God with the kind of hopeful spirit we all need. Hope and dreams I still have. Gifts I received from God.
Then, came the scene when Forrest sat in a chair by his mother lying in bed. Forrest’s mother announced that she was dying. Forrest asked his mother why. She said, “Death is just part of life”. Just like birth. It was her time. That time comes for all of us.
Then, I found myself with my mother ten years ago when she was near death. Receiving the Last Rights. As experienced by Forrest in his mother’s death, a part of me died when my mom’s heart stopped beating.
Then, there was Jenny, the girl Forrest loved. The girl who loved him even though Forrest wasn’t the smartest kid on the block. When Jenny refused to confirm her love for him, Forrest said “At least I know what love is.” Even though Forrest was different, Jenny came to love him. Suddenly, I was 23 again. I was next to my bride, Dorothy. Dorothy was my Jenny in 1972. Like Jenny for Forrest, despite my own disabilities and differences from other men, Dorothy loved me as I was. As I am. As I am not. As I will never be.
My mind then drifted to the future and to the New Year 2021. How many Americans might have given up hope? Would Forrest’s childlike wonder and innocence be near the brink of extinction in the hearts of most Americans?
What I like about Forrest Gump is that he believed all things are possible. Unlike Forrest Gump, our dreams don’t always come true. And many times we lose our hope. Despite all his challenges, Forrest Gump always had never-ending hope. Like death and birth, dreams and miracles were just part of life too
For me, at present no more is needed than that. Forrest had Jenny. I have my Dorothy. Maybe that feather of God’s hope for us, that feather floating in the wind, like Forrest’s, lands some place in your heart or mine, in the mystery of life itself and God’s love for you and me. With God’s help, we may each live the lives we dream and the hope to love with all the joy and innocence of Forrest.
God has assured us in Scripture that hope is part of the life we are gifted from Him.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
God, many of us are going through a troubled time. Many of us struggle every day to see hope amidst Advent darkness. Amidst all the death. All the hunger. All the poverty. All the unemployment. All the doubt and despair.
God, in the mystery of Your Grace and love for us, please help us in prayer to see that miracles still happen for all of us.
God, with prayer, please help us see the hope and innocence which dwell in us and in Your Child born in Bethlehem. For at Christmas with Jesus’s birth, Your love, Your Holy hope and everlasting light was born. 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.