“He must learn to walk through his Pain.”
Dr. John Holland
It was early in the morning on our ranch in West Texas and I was so happy, because dad was letting me drive the herd of horses into the holding pen. Then we would divide them and return the wild ones to the outer pasture.
With the help of my father, I saddled Prince a beautiful sorrel horse with four white stocking feet and a star in his forehead. The storm was over, and that delightful fresh “after-a-rain-clean-smell” filled my nostrils with the fragrance of the open range.
I was a nine-year-old child, but I was doing the work of a grown-up rancher by rounding up a herd of horses on the family ranch in West Texas.
I was also on my favorite horse, Prince. In my mind I was a man doing the work of a real cowboy. When suddenly seemingly from no where there came a streaking black stallion with flashing eyes and an open mouth charging my mount protecting his herd.
When Prince saw him coming, he jumped to get out of the way and the stallion caught my leg with his teeth. He pulled me from the saddle and dropped me on the ground. As I tried to stand, I looked down at my left leg, which was completely numb. I saw that my jeans were ripped open, and I literally could see the white bone down the center of my leg.
My father was just across a small lake and got there as soon as his horse could carry him.
He picked me up and took me twelve miles into a little town of five thousand people. There was no hospital in that little town and since that was 1942 the doctor had only ether with which to put me to sleep. This was long before the miracle drug of penicillin, so he had only sulfur drug to keep down infection.
The old country doctor took a very long time to do his work. He used one hundred and six stitches to close the wound in that little leg.
As I was coming around from the ether, I heard Dr. Weir say to my mother and dad, “I am not going to give Johnny a cane or a crutch, because if I do, he will be a cripple the rest of his life.
"He must learn to walk through his pain.”
My recovery was long, painful, and discouraging.
From this experience, I can feel the effects of injury and can by the grace of the Lord help others who desperately want to walk again.
The gift of God is mobility, capacity, competency, dignity, and destiny. None of us have found these while we lay groveling in the dust caused by other people’s marching feet. My doctor said, “he will have to learn to walk through his pain or he will be a cripple the rest of his life.”
I learned that through human effort, pain and disappointment there is possibility of a different future.
You see my leg got infected and the pain and the swelling increased as the whole side of my leg turned black as night. They thought the flesh would come off and the leg would shrivel, but in time, thank the Lord, it began to heal. However, I could not touch the floor with my toes. I fell a lot, had terrible dreams of falling and when I jerked myself awake, the pain raced through that leg into whole body.
I know what it is to possess a dream which seems to be impossible.
To lay on my bed and dream of one day becoming an athlete while fighting the fear of being a cripple.
Would I ever walk, would I ever run or play sports?
The fear motivated me to get up and get going.
I used chairs and doorways, bedposts or anything that would help me as I hopped from place to place. I fell a lot, but gradually I improved and began a hobbling, halting walk.
I was so determined that I tried even more. Little by little and day by day, I got stronger and walked better and better.
When it became possible, I would drag my left leg and try to run. If I fell, that was only the price of going faster. As I got up and tried again, I found that I was moving faster and faster. Then the limp almost went away, though I still wore out my left boot before my right one. But I didn’t care, I could run, and I was on my way!
I went from being a cripple to becoming a high school athlete.
I made the team in football, basketball, track and field events and baseball. As graduation day approached, I was approached with an athletic scholarship in football. I loved contact sport, but that could not prevent me from following my call to ministry, so I went to Bible College and upon graduation I was ordained to public ministry.
I have been able to walk and run better than most.
You too can walk through your pain if you will take the hand of ministry. Here is how to start.
We will continue this next week Monday November 22.
"Dr. Holland was my mentor, pastor and friend. I miss him very much." Larry