Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Faith
Publisher: Carpenter's Son Publishing
Date of Publication: January 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 176
Struck by polio at age six, Jack H. Emmott began learning the difficult spiritual lessons embodied in paralysis, shivering loneliness, and dark despair. Fortunately, Jack had help― people of all ages he calls his “Bending Angels,” those who have spread their wings of love and inspiration to walk the journey of faith as the devastated little boy became one of Houston’s celebrated attorneys, a loyal husband, and a devoted dad. Each chapter of this book will relate the story of a Bending Angel―from Brownie, the pup, to Mr. Ochoa, the baseball coach who understood how much of a heart it takes to win and how much of a soul it takes to lose your most precious dream. This book will inspire and uplift you as Jack H. Emmott, a life-long Christian, shares his spiritual wisdom and lessons learned.
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon Bending Angel Website
About the Author
Author Jack H. Emmott contracted polio at the age of six. Before polio, he knelt at his bedside with his mother Lucile and said evening prayers. With paralysis, Jack could no longer kneel. But he could still pray to God for guidance, comfort and healing. The grace and love of God transformed all the bad from polio and paralysis into good. Jack is a life-long Christian and successful family lawyer in Houston, Texas. He is married to his wife of over forty years, Dorothy, who works alongside him in his calling. Jack is father to two children and grandfather to three grandchildren.
Jack is the author of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love by (Carpenter's Son Publishing, 2016) a memoir of the living angels that touched his life. He wrote Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016) to help couples in struggling marriages ask God’s help through prayer for the same guidance, comfort and healing he has received from our Almighty Father for over sixty years following polio.
Author interview: Jack Emmott
For you, polio is a life sentence. What frustrates you the most about this continuing disease? In grammar, every sentence has a beginning and an ending. Every life has a beginning and an ending too, except my faith in God provides me with the certainty that my life and God’s love for me never ends. I have never thought that polio was a life sentence or a curse. Sure, I would like to know what might have been. But what I am as a child of God with polio is not a life sentence. In God’s grace, polio became a launching pad to a more redemptive life for me and others who read my book. Frustration over polio is not part of my vocabulary or my daily thought.
You grew up with four siblings. Where do you fall in the sequence of brothers and sister? How did having a brother with polio affect your siblings? My sister, Carolyn, is the oldest of us and I am the oldest of the four brothers. The sibling most affected was my brother, Charles. As I relate in my book Bending Angels, he became the living angel to serve as my advocate, defender, giver of care and my de facto arms and legs after paralysis. I am certain that my other siblings were also affected but my mother’s seamless, selfless sacrifice and planning minimized the downside of my illness on my other siblings. Fortunately, the burden of my polio and its effect on my siblings was also shouldered by our large extended family in Emmottville.
In Bending Angels, you write about angels from your childhood through marriage. Outside of your immediate family, is there another notable angel who has impacted you as an adult? One is Nita who was a polio survivor. Nita spent five years in the iron lung beginning at age 22 in 1952. A chapter in my next book on angels will be dedicated to her. Before she came to TIRR to serve as Head of the Volunteer Program at age 27, she was separated from her 2-year old twins, her husband divorced her, and he married the Maid of Honor from their wedding. Nita’s father, her best friend, was killed in an automobile wreck. She handled these devastating life events in the same courageous manner as she overcame polio. I call her My Angel of Forgiveness and Mercy.
You are a successful attorney working in both litigated and collaborative divorce – an emotional practice. How has your life mission about being an angel to others helped you? Has it ever backfired? Being an example of what can be achieved in life because of deep love from family, a dedicated team of health care professionals and daily prayer, I strive to be that same instrument for the husbands and wives and mothers and fathers I represent. God wants us to be warriors for those who need protection from abuse.
But God wants us to be peacemakers most of all. Couples need to be encouraged and guided to divide their property and share the kids. My highest calling is to be a peacemaker. Needless litigation causes irreparable harm to relationships that we and God deem sacred. This approach has never backfired for me. I have been disappointed when I mistakenly believed that I could influence every person to be a co-creator of peaceful resolution. Unfortunately, a few on my clients have been so consumed by anger and resentment that they were unable and unwilling to have compassion for their spouses or their children. I have written a book of prayer, Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016), for that very purpose. A prayerful heart is most likely to be a compassionate one.
As a sought-after inspirational speaker, what question comes up time and again from your audiences? How do you answer it? I am asked, “Why are there 13 angels in your book?” The question is often followed up with, “That is an unlucky number.” Really, only God knows the answer to that question. From a greater number of chapters, my beloved and talented editor and poet, Sarah Cortez, helped me select which of the angels to include in Bending Angels. One just needs to read the book to see the wisdom of her advice. My focus as an author was to write a spiritual work which had the capacity to touch, influence, and change the human heart. I wanted a book that had enough depth in material and small enough in length to be held in the reader’s hands. A book about the size and hopefully as worthy as Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
What question do you wish that your audiences would ask and how would you answer it? “How has prayer influenced your writing?” My most valued insights, words, thoughts, and ideas have been created or found during prayer. I just used the word “My” but the true author is the Author of all creation. God did not just create me. God’s creative and healing power flows from us to others if we but pray and wait for the blessings to flow through our voices, our hearts and our hands.
If you had the power to immediately change one thing in your life, what would that be and why? If I had a magic wand, I would like to have been able to physically care for my mother, Lucile, as she cared for me. As her health declined, just sitting with her and praying with her never seemed quite enough. I know that never mattered to her, but it mattered to me.
When you wrote Bending Angels, what reader did you have in mind? Do you think that is the reader who buys and reads the book today? The reader I focused upon was one who embraces the belief that there is exquisite unseen and often unappreciated beauty, mystery, wonder, sanctity, and divinity in his or her daily life. In prayer, there is a heightened sense of watchfulness for the angelic presence and sacred connectedness between God and humankind and Heaven and Earth. Readers who seek to be at that place do buy and appreciate the book.
Religion plays a central role in your life, and this is reflected in Bending Angels. What is there in the book for readers who are not religious or not Christian? I have had many readers say they love the book and are not Christian. One in particular said she does not believe in Christ being the Son of God. She is spiritual not religious. She relishes the lessons in my book and sees them in her own life. She said, “I just approach it in a different way that makes sense for me.” As the author of Bending Angels, I consciously decided to write the book with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit included by name. For me, I did not want to hide my faith but rather express it. For me, referring to God as “Higher Power” was not consistent with who and whose I am. I believe God finds pleasure in others, including non-Christians, learning lessons of love from my losses that are beneficial to them and His Kingdom.
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