By Clint Davis
The Pharisees asked Jesus what was the most important commandment and he replied in Matthew 22, “You must Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and all your mind. And the second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the most powerful force in the entire world. I Corinthians 13 tells us that if we had enough faith to move a mountain, but do not love others, it means nothing.
I cannot think of a better example of love than the love a parent has for their child. Someone once said that having a child is like ripping out your heart and letting it walk around on the earth. They literally are a part of us. It’s the kind of love that fills our heart and soul and makes us feel their pain.
When you have a child that is hurting and you are not able to make the pain go away, it is incredibly difficult for a parent to endure. Jack Canfield, one of the co-authors of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul relayed the following true story about this kind of love.
There was a 26 year old mother in Phoenix, AZ who woke up one night to the cry of her son. She went to his bedroom to help soothe her little boy. She tried everything: Tylenol, ice packs, heating pads, massage, rocking him but nothing worked. So, distraught at 7:30 the next morning, she took him to the emergency room. They ran a series of tests only to discover that he had a terminal illness and maybe had three to six months to live.
The mother believed that everybody should have a dream and that everyone should do whatever is possible to make that dream come true. She felt that you should ask people to support you in making your dream come true and not be humbled, embarrassed or ashamed by that because we all have a need to be supported by others. So she went to her young son named Robert, she called him Bopsy and asked him, “Bopsy, what did you want to be when you grow up, what is your dream? You are six years old and your time appears short, and it didn’t really cross my mind before, but I wanted to know what you wanted to be.” Bopsy said, “Mom, more than anything I wanted to be a fireman.”
She went to the Make A Wish foundation and she told them about her son’s dream and they went to the Phoenix Fire Department and they met a guy there named Fireman Bob who had the same name as Bopsy and they asked him if he could help out. He said, “Sure”. The mother said, “If you could just give him a ride in the fire truck around the hospital one morning maybe.” He said, “Look lady, we’ll do better than that, with the chief’s permission we are going to make Bopsy a fireman for the whole day. We make the uniforms right here in Phoenix so we will take his measurements and get a real uniform made and it will have the yellow rain jacket and pants and boots and a real hat with the insignia of the Phoenix Fire Department.” It turns out that when he checked with the chief, the chief said, “Let’s make him Chief of the Phoenix Fire Department.”
About a week later they picked him up at 6:30 in the morning and put him on the back of one of those hook and ladder trucks where he could steer the wheel on the back with the help of another fireman. They went down to the station and that day there were three fire calls in Phoenix and Bopsy got to go on all three and he was really excited. They were not condescending to him in any way; they literally made him chief of the department. The chief would say’ “Look Bopsy this is what we normally would do, we would bring some fireman over here, and direct the helicopter other there, and cordon off that area over there, but you are the chief, what do you think?” Bopsy would pause briefly and say “Sounds good. Do it.”
So he got to ride in the fire chief’s car and the different fire trucks, the paramedics van, and even in the police chief’s car that day. And probably the most exciting part was the camera crews that showed up as they always do for fires and they wondered what this little kid was doing giving directions to everyone. So they interviewed him and filmed him and he got to see himself later that day on the 5:00 news, and 7:00 news and 10:00 news and 11:00 news. He was on all the channels and he was very excited. His dream had come true; he got to be a real fireman.
Well, several months later all of his vital signs did begin to fade as the doctors had predicted. The hospital believed in the hospice movement where the basic concept is that no-one should ever die alone. So his mom started calling family members saying, “We don’t think Bopsy is going to make it through the night and we think you ought to come down and be with him by his bedside to transition with him.” Then she remembered the fire department, so she called up the chief and said “Chief, do you remember Bopsy?” The chief said “Sure, I remember Bopsy, he’s a great kid.” She said, “Well, we think tonight is the night he’s not going to be with us any longer and he’s going to make his transition and we wondered if you could come down and maybe just send a fireman to be by his bedside in uniform to remind him of that special day he had.” The chief said, “Look here, we’ll do better than that. We are going to be there in six of seven minutes. You are going to here sirens and see flashing lights. Would you go on the intercom and tell everyone at the hospital that everything is okay and there is no fire because we do not want to scare anyone. But we want them to know that the fire department is coming to pay final respects to one of its finest members.”
Six minutes later the fire truck appeared and a ladder extended up to Bopsy’s third floor open window that the chief had asked them to open. 14 firemen and 2 firewomen climbed up that ladder and into that room and with the parent’s permission they picked up this little boy and they started to rock him. At that moment, Biopsy looked up at the chief and said, “Chief, does this mean I’m a real fireman?” And the chief looked down and said, “Bopsy, absolutely, you are one of the finest firemen we have ever had.” And with that, he closed his eyes and made his transition.
My prayer today is for God to touch your heart in 2016 to love others more deeply and to help someone realize their dream. Praise God for his Love!!