David Burchett Christian Blog and Commentary

The meaning of Kemosabe

I was remembering those “thrilling days of yesteryear” recently as my bride was going through another round of chemotherapy. I began to consider my role as Joni’s sidekick in this brutal journey. I was thinking how I could be her Tonto to ride alongside her. Remember Tonto’s greeting to the Lone Ranger? Tonto always greeted the Lone Ranger with the expression "kemosabe". Wikipedia reports that the origin of this expression is somewhat unclear, but James Jewell, an early director of the radio series, said the name comes from a boy's camp located on Mullett Lake, Michigan that his father-in-law had run from 1911 to 1941. The translation was said to mean "trusty scout." Fran Striker, the writer of the Lone Ranger scripts, said the actual expression was Ta-i ke-mo sah-bee, which he said meant "greetings trusty scout". In the pilot of the Clayton Moore TV series, "Enter the Lone Ranger", Tonto explicitly states that "Kemosabe" means "trusty scout". However, the phrase "faithful friend" has also been associated with the term Kemo Sabe. One such instance was in the 20th anniversary broadcast of the radio show, which recapped the Ranger's origin. In the scene where the wounded Ranger awakens and recognizes Tonto, he says, "years ago, you called me Kemo Sabe." Tonto replies, "That right, and you still Kemo Sabe. It mean, 'faithful friend.'"

So I began to think about my role as Joni’s “Chemo Sabe” during these less than thrilling days of present year. I thought about the better or worse clause in our wedding vows. Cancer was not in the brochure I had pictured for our lives. But the amazing thing about the journey with Jesus is that He works good out of bad. Joni and I are drawing closer. I am realizing the strength and depth of her faith. I am amazed by her courage, spirit, and resilience. I am humbled by her lack of self pity. I appreciate the good days a lot more and trust Him more during the bad ones. For me it has been a privilege to serve a woman who has given and given to our family for so many years.

This morning I opened up Joni’s blog, I was blessed and deeply touched to read these words.

I am spending  my short summer vacation recuperating from my last “bad“ chemo treatment but I am so thankful that my husband Dave has been my rock. He has been my constant help during these difficult days.  He makes sure I take my medication for nausea and pain, he makes sure I eat even though I have cravings similar to when I was pregnant with the boys, he allows me to sit in the recliner all day and keeps reminding me that these difficult days will soon be behind us.  He has been keeping the house picked up, doing the dishes, the cooking and the laundry.  I don't have the  energy or the ability to do any of these normal every day activities.  He does all of this while encouraging me and maintaining his regular job with the Rangers.   It is not easy for me to rely on someone else and not carry my fair load of the housekeeping responsibilities. 

I don't like being sick but God keeps  reminding me that He is in charge of my body, the cancer, the treatments and the timing even though  I feel so out  of control.  When I am able to relinquish control of my situation is when He can work.  Lord, I thank you for Dave, my earthly rock, and I thank you that you are my true Rock.  Psalms 31:3  For thou art my rock and my fortress;  for thy name's sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me. 

What an honor to be your “Chemo Sabe” my love. Hi Ho Silver! Let’s round up the bad cells, put them away for good, and ride into the sunset together. And we can sing the words of the Psalmist.

I will exalt you, O LORD,
       for you lifted me out of the depths
       and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 
 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
       and you healed me.

 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave [b] ;
       you spared me from going down into the pit.

 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
       praise his holy name.

 For his anger lasts only a moment,
       but his favor lasts a lifetime;
       weeping may remain for a night,
       but rejoicing comes in the morning.

 When I felt secure, I said,
       "I will never be shaken."    Psalm 30  NIV



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