It's a proven psychological fact that whatever we last put in heads at night before we wander into slumber has a more lasting effect on our character than anything else we've done that day. That's why so many faithful Mormons arrange their bedtime rituals to include scripture study and sincere prayer. Could there be anything better sashaying throughout our subconscious during these most formative hours than stories of stripling warriors and spiritual impulses encompassing the Savior's love for us?
Hardly. Yet a few months ago I found myself at bedtime being inextricably drawn into the moralistic crusading world of “Walker Texas Ranger,” a popular 1990's TV drama, where black was always black and white was always white. In Walker Texas Ranger's world of reruns, whether it be the evils of drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, or gang violence, the good guys always won in the end, albeit after 50 minutes of enduring seemingly endless and patently offensive actions by antagonists hell bent on destroying all that is right and good in the world in the name of selfish gain. Evil was almost always decisively defeated via Cordell Walker, the testosterone-laden hero, offering up a heapin' helping of vicious martial arts kicks and punches. You could count on it. Although I still may have had a scripture in my head and a prayer in my heart when sleep arrived every night, it was accompanied with comforting thoughts that right would always prevail.
One recent evening, while satisfying my new-found Walker Texas Ranger fix, I was confronted with my own clear moral dilemma. A close friend far away was enduring a temporary but real and deep emotional tragedy and needed to hear my comforting voice on the phone. Now. However, I was 45 minutes into Walker Texas Ranger tracking down a den of international drug kingpins about to brutally torture the crusading widowed senator's completely innocent teenage only daughter (his wife had been murdered by drug lords just two years earlier), and I just HAD to know if Walker would reach her in time. Wouldn't you? Couldn't my close friend's emotional emergency wait 15 minutes?
Tensions were mounting. In the reel world, Walker, with the awesome power of his bare hands and feet, was quickly mowing down legions of oversized neanderthal thugs guarding the nondescript warehouse where the senator's daughter was tied up; meanwhile in the real world, my friend was quickly crumbling under the weight of her own emotional challenges. I had an important decision to make.
In the heat of the moment, my soul cried out, “but what would Walker Texas Ranger do?” The answer was easy. I immediately turned off the television and reached for my cell phone. Once again, right prevailed and evil was vanquished.