Frank, You Will Be Missed
Today I lost a friend.
Four months ago, Frank was strong and alive. Suddenly one day his voice went out and he went to the doctor. He came back finding out that lung cancer was the culprit and it had spread (stage IV). This morning an email came saying that Frank had only a few days or maybe just hours. This afternoon those hours ended.
Frank and I met less than two years ago, but we bonded into a strong friendship quickly. We worked together and that was what put us in each others path. I was scheduled to go and visit him and encourage him on the 30th of this month.
Though we did not always agree, in fact many times we did not, we never questioned each other about why as we both were striving for the same outcome but our methods were not always the same. This made us stronger. Once in a large forum he called me 'a dead horse' and I responded that I was tired of riding a 'dead horse', but afterwards we were actually closer than before.
Frank was one of the smartest people I have ever known. His intellect was plain to see and his drive was strong and true. He was a good man.
My heart goes out to his family and friends, most of whom have been with him much longer than me and I am sure this will effect them more deeply than me, but it hurts none the less.
As I have prayed for Frank, and asked others to pray for him, I have finally gotten comfort from God that if I never see Frank again on this earth that I will see him in heaven and that gave me hope and peace.
God, please give your mercy and comfort to his family and friends.
See you in heaven Frank!
Turn the Key and Smile
Cancer and the Love of God
While trading messages on a board for Access 2007 (which I am trying to learn and failing mightily) one of my corresponders mentioned that he was afraid of cancer. His friend had been recently diagnosed and it scared him.
My response of course was that there is no reason to fear cancer. That may sound crazy even cold to some, but there is no reason to fear cancer. You, however, must do some things, take action such that there is no reason.
First, God is in control. What happens to you is all part of the plan He set for you before you were born, if you are following Him, and if not, then its part of your plan by your own perspectives. So, I would suggest that you make your peace with your maker.
Second, you have to get regular check ups and keep track of what your body tells you. If you do that, almost any cancer can be managed.
Having now lived 56 months cancer free (60 is considered cured) with a Stage IV (there is no stage V) head and neck cancer that has a 70% death rate, and of those 30% who live, 70% of those have a recurrance within three years and die.
So, I am blessed to be alive. If God had not intervened, I would not be writing this today. God helped me make the decisions, even though some of them seemed wrong, God helped me find the doctors, though some of them were wrong, and God helped me live with the changes (dysphagia, g-tube, trache) that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
But I wake up every morning. And in that I am blessed.
God has given me a new story, a new life with which to tell people about His love.
Get your checkups, listen to what God tells you through your heart, listen to what your body tells you about how it is doing, and you have no reason to fear cancer.
Remember, Christ gives us hope, hope in life eternal, so the end of this one is just the beginning of the next one. And once you have something like cancer, you can see that transition and not be afraid of it.
I do not wish this illness on anyone, it is the most difficult process to go through in life that I know, but when there is hope, and reason to live, in this life or the next, then all will go well.
Turn the Key and Smile
Warrior in the Army of God
Not long ago I read a book that touched me deeply. As Eugene Peterson would say, I ate this book! (EP wrote a book called, "Eat This Book")
For those men who do not know who you are, and for those women who want to know who men are, this is a great start. Start here and then go back to the Bible and finish there.
In a quick view, here is how the book touched me. Every day, or as often as I remember I say the following to myself:
I am a Warrior
I am a Warrior in the Army of God
God is my Commander and God is my Friend, God calls me Friend
I do not know what this day will bring, but I know
That my Commander will not send me into battle without all that I need, and
My Friend will not let me go through the day without helping me if I need help.
So whatever this day may bring, I can face the day
I am a Warrior
I am a Warrior in the Army of God
God is my Commander and my Friend.
Turn the Key and Smile
Fraternity, Cordiality, Jehovah & Respect
In today's political and cultural malaise (the malaise is recollected from Mr. Jimmy Carter) with political correctness pressed to the extreme in some circumstances and the words of hate and violence without consequence in the other we have again become a nation divided.
Of course, we as a Nation have always had divisions between us, but we were not so clearly divided but at one other time in our history. Today in the blogosphere people can write out hate and violent insults upon others they disagree with, in music we can hear the words never thought to be heard in the history of mankind in the public square.
We throw God out of our public arena and fill it with name calling, smearing and the evil that inherently comes when the sense of a greater calling is lost in the land.
Its the Al Sharpton's and Jessie Jackson's going to the mats on the Don Imus situation, and as unlikely as it may seem, I agree with them on this one, but they also were in front of the cameras to condemn the Duke LaCross players who have now been declared innocent. Al, Jessie, where are your apologies (and should they be unaccepted as Don Imus's was?)?
In looking back through our history, when thousands of our countrymen died on single days to keep this country alive and to remove the bondage of one man over another if our rhetoric had bullets many would die each day as they did then though then each felt they had a just cause.
And out of the words of one of those who lost in the war among us, come words that are needed to be heard today. From this man of valor who gave his all for a cause that could not stand we need to hear and live by the words he wrote in the 1890's thirty years after the war.
"What we need is the resumption of fraternity, the hearty restoration and cordial cultivation of neighborly and brotherly relations, faith in Jehovah and respect for each other.......
the words of General James Longstreet who harbored no bitterness, but knew that together we can overcome all things as we can today.
Lets try a little faith in Jehovah and some respect for each other.......
turn the key and smile
Mitt Romney & Hugh Hewitt
I have just finished reading "A Mormon in the White House" 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney by Hugh Hewitt.
First let me say that this is the third book by Hugh Hewitt that I have read. On occasion I listen to his radio show and view his blog, but neither of those rise to the level of his books. He books are well researched, well written and I believe are clearly from the heart. He believes what he writes and lets you know in his writing what he does not believe.
The first book of Mr. Hewitt I read was "In But Not Of", a book that every person with heart and a glimpse of faith should read, best before your thirty, good at any time (I gave copies to all of my early 20's kids). The second book I read was "Blog" which outlined the new media and its power in changing the location and the method of discussion of all issues in America.
Now comes "A Mormon in the White House". In a full disclosure environment I must note that at the sophisticated age of 12, I worked on the campaign of Governor George Romney in Flint, Michigan. I went door to door, gave out flyers, did paper work, and once, in a parade down South Saginaw I got a chance to meet the man and shake his hand, an experience I have not forgotten.
Much of Mr. Hewitt's book centers around the issue of Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. Even when I was 12, faith was an important part of my life. I was baptized, confirmed and raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran and that speaks for itself. In my teenage years, I went to various kinds of churches, I knew God was real, but was curious as to how different people approached God, and how God approached them. I admit that in those days I did not visit a Mormon church, mostly by chance not by choice.
Since then I have attended full Gospel (Pentecostal) churches, I have been back in Lutheran Churches, been immersion baptized in Southern Baptist Churches and have been a long standing member in several of them including The Korean Church of Houston; New Hope Baptist in Fayetteville, GA; Applewood Baptist in Wheatridge, CO; and two large churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, The Fellowship of Los Colinas, now called Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX and our current church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.
Thankfully, though the Mormon theme is in the book, Mr. Hewitt spends a great deal of time on the issues of the day that Mitt Romney stands for. Not just says but has acted upon in both his public and commercial life.
Though I would not vote for the Mormon Church, the 2008 election is not about the Mormon Church, though I would not become a Mormon as I believe my faith is where Jesus Christ wants my faith to be, I can be who I am, an evangelical Christian with a strong Southern Baptist underpinning, I will vote for Mitt Romney and give my support to him.
Again, when I was young and working for the campaign, and I mean I spent many hours in the offices, on the streets, nothing, but nothing came of George Romney's Mormon faith. In fact, until I read the book being described I did not know George Romney was a Mormon. And even at 12 I was aware of such things, but it never came up. What came up were his stand for family and for limited government and taxes and for the people of Michigan and that was enough to get me motivated even at 12.
I am much older now, disabled from questionable medical care surrounding cancer, but in some way I am going to get involved. This man (Romney) is the real thing, believes what I believe, wants what I want and is not afraid to say so. This country needs the 'not afraid to say so' so badly right now that even a disabled man, veteran, father, still working man will take what time, energy and finances and do what I can for Mitt Romney.
His father was good for Michigan, He was good for Massachusetts and will be good for America.
For those of you who are Christians like I am, we need to get past his faith, like it or not, and focus on what we have in common. Country, security, family and the list goes on. Thats enough for me and it should be for you. Our religion should not drive our decision about him through his, we should find our common ground and move forward with it. (There is not another Republican contender who can come close to your beliefs in reality, though they give them speaking space, what have they done?)
This is a good book, if you have any questions, read it. If it takes you farther away because of what you learn of Mormonism, then get past it as there is no room in this country for public office tests, except the Constitution alone.
turn the key and smile.
I Should Have Slept, then Been At Rest
These days feel like days of Job when his grief was very great. The force of my disease bindeth me about my collar like a coat. The flesh upon him shall have pain and the soul within him mourns. I am confused and even my breath is not known by my wife. My face is foul with weeping and on my eyelids is the shadow of death. My days are past, my purposes are broken off and even the thoughts of my heart are gone.
It is hard to explain, and when attempted no one can understand. Tired. Tired of having a strap on my neck 24/7. Tired that I cannot eat like normal people. Tired that I dont look as before, tired that I dont sound as before, tired that I cannt do what I did before, tired that I know that my body cannot do what my mind can, and will never again do it. Tired that I cannot travel, tired that I cannot mix with friends, as most the time that includes eating, and now that my friends know I cannot eat, they and I dont know how to deal with that well.
Tired that I have not slept more than four hours at one time in any night for over four years.
I know He loves me, I know He died for me, I know He knows what I am going through, but knowing all of that does not change the reality of life. That I am left with what I am.
A day is just another day......
the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
An Old Friend is New
God is good! Start with that. This past week an old friend of mine called me to talk about business and while that discussion was on going, he told me that he had given his life to God, and realized that he (my friend) is not in control but God is.
Not so many months ago, my best friend in Germany also made a committment to God. The joy from each of these new, old friends is wonderful.
Mr. Transportation, and Mr. Germany mean so much to me that I just dont know what to say, but God is good!
The Lord is still teaching me, that its not how great I am, or the title I have, or how much I have done, but those who are touched by the Spirit and come to know God are touched in the same way that Jesus did..... one at a time.
Give it away, one at a time.