For the video of Jack reading this prayer, please click here.
Last week’s prayer was a Prayer for Dreamers and Dream Killers. I believe that dreams and the hope that they can come true are gifts to you and me from God. But having dreams and making them come true requires more than the vision of what can be and more than working hard to achieve them.
How many of you have lived your dreams because someone opened a door for you? Given you the opportunity to succeed. To flourish. To flower in God’s Kingdom. How many of you lost a dream because a door did not open? Worse, a door was slammed in your face?
Today, I sit here before you being the best me that I’ve ever been because a man of faith helped open a door for me at a time when I needed it most. His name was Ron Trull.
After graduating from the University of Houston, I applied to 5 law schools in Texas. Every one of the law schools to which I applied sent me letters denying my application for admission. I was devastated, frustrated, and bewildered. One of the reasons my applications for admission were denied was my low LSAT test results. This was partly due to the fact that I did not take a test which allowed for additional time needed because of my slowness in writing due to polio.
I pled my case to each of the law schools explaining why my LSAT test results were so low. I thought the admissions committees would understand. I would be given the chance to prove my worth as a law student and a future lawyer.
After receiving the 5 rejection letters, my sole focus was the University of Texas School of Law. My mother graduated from Austin High. My father attended the University of Texas. I knew that the University of Texas School of Law was where I belonged. A place that would surely launch a career would fulfill my dream if only the door to the Law School would open for me.
I filed a passionate appeal with the Admissions Committee to reconsider my application. Dorothy and I met with T. J. Gibson, Dean of Students. I pled my case. The Admissions Committee heard my appeal. Shortly thereafter, Dean Gibson called me. My appeal had been denied. I was crushed. Immediately after Dean Gibson’s call, I drove to the Law School. I parked in front of the Law School building. As we sat in silence together in the car, I looked up at the Law School and said to Dorothy, “I belong here. I cannot give up on my dream. I must find a way to make this happen.”
The next day I called my counselor, Ron Trull, with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission. I asked Ron if he would please go and meet with Dean Gibson to request that my appeal be considered a second time. A few days later Ron drove from Houston and met with Dean Gibson.
I asked Ron, “What did you say to Dean Gibson?” Ron said he showed the Dean a record of all the money the State of Texas had paid for my rehabilitation and for my undergraduate education. Ron said to Dean Gibson, “The only way for the State of Texas to get a return on its investment in Jack would be if the Law School reversed its decision to give Jack the chance to get an education and become a lawyer.”
Neither Ron nor I knew what the outcome would be when the Admissions Committee reconsidered my appeal. My LSAT and grade point average were still the same. The members of the Committee were still the same. The dollars invested in my rehabilitation by the State of Texas were still the same. But, one thing had changed. Ron cared enough for me and had gone to meet with Dean Gibson. He asked that the Law School open its doors for me. He told the Dean that he believed in me and my ability.
Several weeks later when I had given up any hope that I would be admitted, a fat envelope from the Law School came in the mail. I called Dorothy on the phone and told her that I was about to open the envelope. I prayed over the envelope asking God for the letter to please say the words I needed to hear. I pulled out the letter. It said, “Congratulations you have been accepted to the summer class at the University of Texas School of Law.”
Sheer pandemonium broke out in my house. I called for my mother who ran down the stairs and to my bedroom. When Mom saw the letter she started screaming like the house was on fire. Or, like someone had just died. But in fact, a dream had just been born. My father was so alarmed by my mother’s screams he ran down the stairs and into my room clad only in his sleeveless t-shirt and boxers.
Today, as you look at me on this video, the person I am now and the person you see would not exist but for Ron Trull. I might have lived other dreams and contributed in other ways. But being my best and truest calling as a collaborative divorce attorney would never have been.
God has written in Scripture that the doors of Heaven are always open for every one of us who is faithful and asks for forgiveness of wrongs. In our births and in our God-given abilities seeds of Holy hope and opportunity are planted in each of us. Scripture says that we have a duty to open doors for others like Ron did for me. To help others harvest the fruit of their dreams.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
These three Scriptural quotes demonstrate not only what God does for us but what God asks us to do for others. God holds the key to the Gates of Heaven. The place where we all will be. Our final resting place for us and in God’s dreams for us.
God, please help us to do for others what Ron did for me. He opened the door for me. Let us all be shepherds of Your sheep. Please show us how to walk others in need through doors of opportunity so that their dreams come true.
God, we thank You for all of those who have opened doors for us, as Ron Trull opened a door for me.
God, as we strive to keep Your word on our lips and Your hope in our hearts, let us all act to open doors of opportunity for others.
God, when we knock on the doors of opportunity for others, please use Your power and grace to cause those on the other side of the door to swing the doors wide open. To invite dreams of Your children to step in. For their dreams to come true. For a life without dreams is a life lived without hope. With You, our God, hope never dies. 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.