Ray Brook

First post: May 7, 2019 Latest post: Mar 22, 2021

“This is my story, this is my song; Praising my savior all the day long.”

Was I surprised when told, “You have esophageal cancer”?
The answer, “Yes…and…no.”

Yes, because I have no symptoms; and actually feel the best I’ve felt in years.  I’ve been exercising consistently (haven’t missed a day in six months). I’m eating healthy, and just had a great report from a full physical before my hernia surgery. My doctor was pleased my LDL (bad) cholesterol had dropped 40 points; and he said, “You are the healthiest guy I know, your age”.

Sure I was surprised because I’ve been focused on healthy living for over 40 years.  When asked to describe his father in one word, Ron said “Healthy”.  He was 26 years old, suffering from cystic fibrosis, and died a year later (1989). I committed myself to be as healthy as I could be, for Ron’s sake. That’s all he wanted in his life, but he came to accept he would never have his dream. He was proud of his dad who was living it. 

“Ron’s Legacy” became my passion and purpose. I declared “I have two lives to live, to fulfill Ron’s dreams and my own.  My journey went from physical health focus, to mental, social/emotional and spiritual health. Daily discipline helped me keep focused on long-term health goals and strategies for continual improvement. 

So, why wasn’t I surprised?

When life looks like it can’t get any better … look out!!! 
Trouble lurks just around the corner. Adversity is a key life lesson Gay and I include in “Pathway for Life”, the workshop we developed nine years ago; and have been facilitating with college and university students in Asia and Africa since. 

The five lessons we share, come from our own lives, and focus on universal needs. We continually learn from our students too. Everyone experiences adversities; no one is exempt from them. Most of the time, we don’t see them coming; like sudden death, disease, accidents, financial loss, broken relationships and more.  Bad things happen to everyone. Some ask “Why me?” Others say “Why not?”

The question we should ask is: “How will I respond when adversity strikes?” Without advance preparation, people normally react with denial, anger, blame, and fear. We’ve learned from our own lives, as well of from others, including authorities and books, “It’s not what happens to us, but how we respond, that makes the difference in life.  Attitude is everything. Choose to be positive and grow from it.”

What helped me the most, to understand life, to expect and grow from trouble is The Holy Bible. I read it daily and learn how to respond by believing and trusting GOD.

So I was prepared in advance when told, “You have esophageal cancer”.

GOD is all knowing and sovereign. He is with me and will never leave me. 

Favorite Bible verses quickly came to mind:
“Consider itpure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever youface trialsof many kinds, because you knowthat the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James 1:2 –    I DO know that I WILL persevere and grow stronger, with GOD’s help.

“And we know that in all things GOD works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 –    I am sure GOD WILL make me better, more compassionate for the greater good of others.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanksin all circumstances, for this is GOD’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21

So I am greatly encouraged, excited for the months ahead, filled with joy and thanksgiving that God called me to this challenge, knowing what will come of it.

Whatever may be, we will sing praise, honor and glory to God, in Christ.

We are thankful to God, to friends and family; for your loving care, prayer and encouraging words over the years. We continue to feel your support, which we need more than ever, knowing “Together we are stronger” and can achieve more for the common good of ALL, as we share life loving one another.

I thank God for the gift of Gay, my perfect wife; and I thank her for saying “Yes”.

She continues being proactive in meeting my needs, with love, joy and grace.

I thank God for...my cancer, for revealing that I have it, even though there were no signs, no systems, no reasons to look for it, EXCEPT it was apparently by His will. 

If you’re interested in how it was discovered, or the prognosis and treatment plan, see my “Timeline” Journal. 

Gay and I will post Journal updates as we Journey this new “Pathway for Life”.