Cowboy Up



At 10lbs, 13ozs he came into this world like a broncin' buck and he’s been living large ever since.

For most of his growing up life, he was the strong, silent type… more comfortable with the shadows than the spotlight. When he did speak, one of his favorite phrases was; “Go away, shut-up!” When he was asked for his opinion he would reply; “I don’t have to say anything.” Yep, there’s a bunch of cowboy swagger in my son Michael, and that’s a good thing. Although that swagger sometimes means that he’s stubborn like his dad, his heart is also big and teachable.

Now days, this young man is often in front, leading in his own way. No noise (well, not about himself, but I can assure you, he makes noise) no fanfare, just trying doing the right thing. This quality often shows itself where Michael works. My son works as a lifeguard at two different pools, one at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and the other is our local town recreation center.

A few weeks ago at the rec center, a cowboy up moment took place. Michael was watching a group of little kids jumping in the deep end of the pool to the waiting arms of their moms, all except one that is. She was more than a little scared and although encourage by friends and moms alike… she was having none of it. Michael’s shift in the lifeguard chair was over and he made one of those silent decisions. He dove in the pool and swam up to the group of kids; he held his arms up and told the little girl to jump in, saying…

“Don’t worry, I’ll catch you.”

I’m not sure why, maybe it was the image of a strong older brother type, but after a small hesitation… she jumped in!

Michael caught her and returned her to the side of the pool… now she was hooked. From that point on, she needed no further coaxing… she was free to join her friends in the simple pleasure of jumping into water. One less fear for that little girl to confront, and a lesson for the cowboy (lifeguard) as well.

For God didn’t give us the spirit of a sissy, but a spirit of strength, of love, and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

(From the Simplified Cowboy Version-Paul's Letter to the Romans (Volume 2) The SCV is NOT a bible. It is a Bible paraphrase. Think of it as The Message (for cowboy and cowgirls).

This past Sunday, Michael jumped into the deep end of our church service and helped lead worship. This was a huge leap for him and it took the same amount of faith and spirit that little girl displayed at the edge of the pool. Sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end.

You gotta cowboy up, dust yourself off
Get back in the saddle give it one more try
Sweat and blood it takes all you got
Cause the road to heaven is a hell of a ride
The tough get goin when the goin gets rough
Cause they know they gotta cowboy up
Chris Ledoux - Cowboy Up

He takes another step down the trail this fall when he begins his college adventure. There is excitement and the usual uncertainty that comes with a new trail to discover. I believe Michael will succeed because his trail boss is going with him on this ride.

To all who have chosen to saddle up with him, to those who believed in who they ride for, he gave ‘em the right to become cowboys of God. John 1:12

Love you Michael, so very proud of you. Remember, when you’re leading a herd, take a look behind you to make sure they’re still there!
- Dad Tags: ,,


Rick Dawson said…
...also make sure they're not ready to stampede on ya :)

I do believe that is one fine looking Ovation guitar that boy has slung on his back - good taste :)
Bill (cycleguy) said…
This young man will become a trail boss some day. He will lead, if not by voice, then by example. Well said Jay. Way to go Michael.
Jay Cookingham said…
Thanks Bill...I believe the same!
Jay Cookingham said…
OH...I've been run over a few times! LOL! Thanks Rick, bless ya!
marthaorlando said…
I have the distinct impression that Cowboy Michael will blaze many trails for the Lord! What a fine young man!
Jay Cookingham said…
I agree Martha and I thank you for the kind words!
Dusty Rayburn said…
Jay, what can I say. Good stuff.

When it comes to faithfully following God's Will and leadership in our own lives, we all need to cowboy-up.

Thank you for this encouragement. Like your son Michael helping the young girl to find her courage, your words spur the hesitant to jump in knowing God is able to do the immeasurable.
floyd said…
Nice tribute, dad. The foundation of the strong is learned from parents who stand on the Rock. Nice job, sir. I'm always awed of your heart and love expressed for your family. Great stuff, Jay.
Jay Cookingham said…
From one cowpoke to another...thanks partner!
Jay Cookingham said…
We all need to take a leap of faith don't we Dusty? Bless ya!
Eddy Damas said…
jumping into the water and reaching out his arms? Yep! A true cowboy!

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