Last Thursday, August 26, was another anniversary of a day I will never forget. On the 26th of August when I was six I watched my mother watching me as I sat in Doctor Sterling’s lap. At that moment I believed mom was crying tears of blood. Actually, her tears were wet streams of mascara running down her face. Mom braced her grief by leaning against my father who stood behind her with his arms wrapped around her. As Dad held Mom in his arms, he leaned against the wall next to the tall bedroom dresser. Dad could not see the face of my mother which I saw. Her devastation and disbelief are imprinted in my memory until I am no more.
Like any parent at that moment of stark recognition when their child contracted paralytic polio, I am certain she was devastated. Without words. Asking herself and God, “How can this happen to Bubba?”
There was one question she never had to ask herself. “Did I do all I could to protect Bubba from polio?”
Mom never wanted any of her children to end up like sweet little Margaret Airola down our road in 1952. Margaret contracted paralytic polio and had to remain in an Iron Lung to breathe for the rest of her life. So, Mom read the newspaper to keep abreast of every way to protect her children. She made sure we did not go swimming even in August’s sweltering heat. We could not play with other kids who might be sick or had a cold. She made us come inside the house each afternoon to rest for several hours. Mom knew that polio was a fecal virus. Every month, especially after a flood from White Oak Bayou, she ran a bottle of water from our water well. Then, Mom dropped off the sample to be tested by Abbott Laboratories. Mom made us take daily vitamins and have well-balanced meals. She took us to Dr. Montgomery’s office on Montrose Boulevard to get a gamma-globulin shot every six weeks to boost our immune systems. Because Mom believed in the power of God to protect us from harm, we knelt beside each other at bedtime to say the Lord’s Prayer together.
What more could my mother have done to keep me from getting polio? Absolutely nothing. Mom never had to regret not having done all she could to spare me of polio and the long-haul challenges of the disease she most feared.
Now, in the Pandemic we have another dreaded, deadly, nimble, continuously evolving, life-altering disease with long haul effects for its survivors. If someone you know or love, such as a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, dies or contracts Covid-19, will you be like my mother? Will you be able to say, “At least I did all I could’ve done.”?
God has spoken to us in Scripture about protecting and caring for others.
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and unto their children after them.
Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, I am worried about Covid-19 and its mutations infecting, harming, or killing those I love.
God, please inform me of the things I can and cannot do to safeguard others from harm.
God, just as You look after me in my sleeping and in my waking, please help me to do all I can to protect others from Covid-19.
God, in the event my efforts do not prevent Covid from harming others, may Your love transform the bad of Covid into goodness for Your creation and the darkness of the Pandemic into light. 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.
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