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Guy’s Story

I have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and, on this site, I will provide updates as I have them.  I will also treasure messages of encouragement and promises of prayer. I am trusting the words of Juliana of Norwich:

God did not say: You will not be troubled, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted; but he said: You will not be overcome.  God wants us to pay attention to those words and always be strong in faithful trust, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights in us, so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well. . . . [The Lord says most comfortingly]: I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well.




Latest Journal Update

Endings, Beginnings, Zometa Flu and Revlimid Resumes

First, the clinical stuff: I had an infusion of Zometa on Thursday and, while yesterday it seemed I was going to get by with a lighter case of "Zometa flu." today has proven that hope false. I have lots of achyness in my bones and joints and considerably less energy. But, I know that these symptoms will last two or so more days and then they will lift.  Yesterday, I began a new 21-day cycle of Revlimid, after seven days off; that drug brings its own (by now, predictable) side effects, primarily queasiness and a persistent drag on energy.  The blood work I had on Thursday shows that Revlimid has diminished nearly all of my "counts" and, therefore, my immune system is more compromised. The goal, of course, is to diminish "Frank's"/the cancer's strength and to compromise his/its ability to do damage to me. Seeing my blood counts, the infusion nurse said: "It would be a good idea to avoid crowds; there's a lot of stuff going around."

"Avoiding crowds" brings me to the reality which is more present to my awareness than cancer and its treatment: the ending, last Sunday, of my time as pastor at the wonderful First Baptist Church of Asheville. One of many reasons (not the only one) I concluded that I needed to resign from my role and responsibilities there was the ongoing incompatibility of continued treatment and the legitimate demands of a busy and energetic church. The need to "avoid crowds" is one simple example of that complex truth.

On Sunday, the church and I had the opportunity to thank each other, to acknowledge how significant it had been that we had the opportunity to spend 13+ years on the journey together, and to express confidence in the future God has for us all.  Most of all, we reminded each other of our identity as God's children, in whom God takes great delight. 

I have had T. S. Eliot's words in "Little Gidding” on my mind this week: “. . . to make an end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from." Echoing Eliot, Natalie Sleeth has, in her “Hymn of Promise” taught us to sing:

In our end is our beginning,
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing,
in our life, eternity,
in our death, a resurrection,
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

Both cancer and the culmination of my time at First Baptist are, to say the least, significant endings for me.  Cancer makes it impossible to negotiate around awareness of my mortality--the consciousness of the looming end of death. Leaving the pastorate means an ending--at least a radical reorienting--of vocational identity, and there are hard losses in that ending.

I am learning, though, how true it is that endings are also beginnings.  We die, in all the ways we die, to live.  We lose to find.  We stop so that we can begin again, differently, more wisely, more freely, and more joyfully.  I have been, and am still, in a long season of endings. I am grateful for the beginnings which come to life in such a challenging time.

 


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Comments

22 Comments

Deborah Kloos
By Wes and Deborah Kloos
Guy, I'm just so grateful that you still minister in other ways, most definitively now through your writing. May you continue to find strength and grace to write here, there and everywhere, ever widening the reach of God's message to a hurting, dying world. More personally, thank you for your continuing encouraging ministry to our family. God bless you!
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Kara Kelley
By Kara
Oh...the endings...sore though they be for us all...the time has come for healing interludes before the melodious strain begins anew... This is the time...when rest and remembering of 13 years threads the needle to sew the new cloth.
A bright tomorrow with new colors...hope for us all! And I bless and thank thee...thou hast woven thy life with us well!!
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David Harmon-Vaught
By David Harmon-Vaught
Prayers for your continued peace on this journey, Guy. Grateful for your continuing ministry of understanding and wisdom to us as we journey with you.
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Sue Wright-Barron
By
Dear Guy, we continue to pray for you and are so sorry you continue to suffer. You are a blessing. We continue to pray for your complete healing, but we continue to pray for you to feel at peace. We love you,
Bob and Sue
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Buddy Corbin
By Buddy Corbin
On the eve of MLK Day, I'm reminded of your prophetic voice. You have been faithful in your preaching, reminding us all of the grace and love that God extends to all persons, "with whom He takes great delight." Just as Brother Martin had a dream, may you live out yours, joyfully and completely! I pray for your energy as you power on.
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Robbie Angell
By Christ's love, Robbie
Guy, your life is a model of pressing "toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.," That challenge is embedded in the hearts of FBA'S congregants.
When I look back at all the ministers that I've had the privilege of hearing (and yes, even the ones of my childhood whose message was stern like John the Baptist's), there are two that rise to the top as models of true Christianity. That would be you and Douglas Branch, the minister that baptized me when I was six and later served as president of our state convention. Rev. Branch also believed and taught "It is all about Jesus."
While I am sad that you will not be will us for worship for a while, I am relieved that you will not be compromising your health with church responsibilities and our germs! I look forward to the blessings that I (we) will receive from your writing, a true spiritual gift.
My prayers for you and your family through this transition will continue to be for deliverance from FRANK, physical comfort through the treatments, renewed energy, opportunities beyond your wildest expectations for ministry and happiness for your "with your one wild and precious life "
I love you!

.
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Larry Rhodes
By Jan and Larry Rhodes
The path to the ending that is the beginning of eternity is tedious. We cannot imagine what it would be like without the love our family of faith and the warm, loving arms of Jesus.
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Nancy Dunn
By Nancy Dunn
You are always in my prayers Guy. Sorry I was so weepy Sunday but I will truly miss your wonderful words on Sunday mornings.
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Una Mullis
By Una
There is no ending to the joy, love and peace being a part of your life has brought to so many, including me. I hope you feel better very soon.
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David Bradley
By David Bradley
Praying that God gives you strength for the next few days.

May God make the future clear for you in new beginnings.
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