The "Good, Good Father"
I don't listen to a lot of CCM, but driving down the road the other day in my car, I was reminded of this song. I had some surgery ahead and of course I knew chemo was starting soon. Somehow the words really spoke to me that day.
"Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone
You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am
Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only you provide
'Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word"
God has never spoken to me audibly, but recently I've begun to realize that He still speaks to me in other ways, through other people. Just to let me know He is there. Maybe I've just never listened before.
The weekend before I started chemo, Wendy and I decided to get baptized together at First Redeemer. Jay McSwain (who is on staff as a Pastor, but also happens to be the Chaplain for the Atlanta Braves) did the baptism. While we were waiting for the service to start and going over all of the logistics of where to change, where to stand, etc. I got a text from my uncle saying he was here with me today, complete with a picture. It took me a minute to realize he had driven from Alabama to physically be there at First Redeemer that day and was downstairs in the sanctuary. Jay left the service and went down to Truist Park to serve Communion before the game for the first time in Braves history. But he took the time to be with us that day, even with all that was going on...
Frustrated with an oncologist who seemed to feel I was on a "need to know" basis, I started a search for a second opinion. Even went as far as to have a trip scheduled to Houston to see MD Anderson. About that time, I went ahead and let my friends know on Facebook what was going on with my health. Within an hour, my old boss and good friend, Jeff Gross, called me out of the blue and told me that if I ever wanted a second opinion, he had an oncologist that had pretty much saved his life. That trip to see Dr. Jonas the day after my first infusion would turn out to be extremely reassuring, and exactly what we needed.
On Monday, my life-long friend Al took me to surgery to get my port put in, and then on Wednesday, Wendy and I were early for my first infusion, and sitting out in the parking lot. I guess I started to realize that I was heading into the "great unknown" and before I knew it, my eyes filled with tears. I remember saying to Wendy, "I can't believe I am about to have chemo. This is surreal". Right at that moment, I got a text. It was from Al. He basically said "Hey man, what building? I am on my way to kick this thing off". He was already in the parking lot.
When I was in business school at Clemson and living in Greenville, I had some really good friends that I've kept in touch with to this day, but haven't seen in years. Jack Gaido (who now lives in Hilton Head) and I have managed to find each other in our travels in the Bay Area, NYC, and DC as well as here in Atlanta a few times over the years, but I haven't seen Mike Stogner and Scott MacLean in over 20 years. The week after my first chemo treatment, Jack organized a get together in Alpharetta, and both Mike (who lives in St. Simons) and Scott (who lives in Baltimore) were able to make it. It was, of course, awesome to see them, but what really touched me was the effort they made to come here in person and show support. I really couldn't believe it.
The other night, God gave Wendy a dream. Wendy has very vivid dreams. In that dream, I was just a little boy, and she was drying me off as I was getting out of a large clawfoot tub. She was telling me, "it's going to be OK". The next day, she couldn't describe the dream to me without crying. She told my Mom about it and cried again. I believe it was a "God thing". No one on Earth knows me like Wendy does. This whole experience is healing my inner child - the one who walked down the aisle so long ago in so much pain. For her to realize that was nothing short of astounding.