These are two pictures of the actual wallet that I kept by my bedside, and under my pillow, when I was 12 years old and battled a very serious bout with rheumatic fever. The drawing of the Eagle Scout medal is the very one that I kept in that wallet, back when I was 12 years old.
Never Give Up On Your Dream!
By Richard Mabey Jr.
When I turned 12 years old, in September of 1965, I began the fight of my life. My enemy was not a big bully in the school yard. My enemy wasn’t some big lug who was a lot older than me. My enemy wasn’t the threat of failing a class. My enemy was a microscopic organism with the long name of Streptococcus pyogenes. A strain of bacteria deadly to the heart in general and specifically to the heart’s mitral valve.
For one full year of my life, my feet never touched the ground. I had four long-term stays at the Barnert Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. Through it all, I kept this fiery passion burning in my heart of my sacred goal to become an Eagle Scout. By December of 1965, the strep infection had traveled from my throat down to my heart, to make a full-fledged attack on my heart valves. I spent December of 1965 and January of 1966 in the Barnert Hospital, with a continuous flow of penicillin being pumped into my veins. At one point, I was going to be lucky to get out of that hospital alive, let alone endure the physical and mental stamina to become an Eagle Scout.
I was the unlikely candidate. If you were going to choose the scouts, from my age group from Boy Scout Troop 170, who were destined to become Eagle Scouts; I highly doubt you would have chosen me. But even at the age of 12, I had this deep seated belief in the strength of prayer. I had an amazing belief in the idea that a burning passionate desire to attain a goal, can make it impossible to fail.
I had this cowboy wallet. It was a brown wallet with a saddle on it. When I was 10 years old, my mom and dad gave it to me for a Christmas gift. In this wallet, I had placed a drawing of the coveted Eagle Scout medal. I would open up my cowboy wallet and for hours upon hours, I would stare at the drawing of the Eagle Scout medal.
I would fall asleep, during the day and at night, holding tightly onto my wallet. When I was in the hospital, I kept the wallet under my pillow when I slept. I didn’t trust the nurses, the cleaning people, the medical technicians at all. Sorry, if this sounds harsh. But I’m just being blatantly honest about it.
During my long-stays at the hospital, my cowboy wallet was my only possession that I had with me. I would spend hours upon hours saying to myself, “I’m going to be an Eagle Scout, nothing is going to stop me!” I would say this simple sentence with deep conviction. To me, even at the young age of 12, failure was not an option.
When I returned to school, a year later, it felt like I was a lap behind the other kids. I was not as strong as the other boys, I was not as coordinated as my buddies were. But, still, the burning passion to become an Eagle Scout burnt brightly in my heart.
Long story short, I did become an Eagle Scout. It was not easy for me. But I was determined as a bulldog. No one nor nothing was going to stop me.
If you are struggling with a goal, do not give up. Fuel the flame in your heart, to burn brightly. Become mentally tough. Do not let anyone nor anything stop you. See yourself as Popeye the Sailor Man, able to smash through a brick wall. Be tough minded. Be strong. When people put you down, and they will, simply say to yourself: “what he heck do you know?” Give it all you got. Keep saying to yourself, “failure is not an option!” Never, ever, give up!!!
Peace and harmony,