I really hope to hear something, anything today. I'm getting more and more anxious about it the longer I wait. I feel like they have forgotten about me and in the mean time the cancer could be growing or getting worse.
As I sit here anxiously I will tell you something that gave me a little peace of mind yesterday. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but let me start by saying I don't believe it when people say that someone that has died is watching over us. I don't believe this because as heaven is talked about in the Bible it says once we get there, and I'm paraphrasing, we will be made new, we won't suffer or feel pain. I think that if we could see what was going on with our friends and loved ones on earth that we would suffer with empathy and hurt for them. So that being said, I feel like when people tend to believe that their loved ones are watching over them it is actually God, giving us a boost through-out our times of trouble. God knows every hair on our head, you don't think he knows what was special between you and someone that has passed away? Of course he does!
So the last time I saw my Grandpa and he was able to have a conversation with me at length before he died of cancer, he told me so much that I wish I would have had a tape recorder to remember it all. Something I do remember though was once diagnosed he began reading. My grandfather was a man of God, and had a wealth of knowledge about the Bible and religion, but at this time he began reading... reading ever thing he could get his hands on about heaven and God. I know that it gave him peace to do this, but I didn't think too much about it until now. In the last 2 days I've gotten a couple different books from people in my life, then last night Nate's Grandparents came to visit. In conversation with them they began to tell us how they are planning a move to the active living area of Greencroft Senior Center, they told us they sold their old cars and got a new one... it happened to be an HHR, the same kind of car my Grandpa drove before he died. I didn't think too much of it, lots of people drive those, and the one my Grandpa had was bright burnt orange you don't see too many of those around...well wouldn't you know it we walked them out and their HHR was the same color. At this point I had been kinda in shock...not only because of the car, but because early in the evening at dinner Parker, our oldest, had said he wanted to run a race at the local park. I had told him I didn't know anything about it, and he told me to check out this website www.runindiana.com well I hadn't had the chance yet, but if you know my son at all as soon as dinner was over he had it pulled up and ready for me to see. So in the middle of our visit with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jo, Parker pulls me out of the room pretty rapidly and excited, like something was wrong. I came into the computer room to see my Grandpa Shank staring me in the face from the computer screen. On this website a race was ran and an honorary award in his name had been given.
Now like I said before I don't believe that this is my Grandpa giving me signs from heaven that he's watching down on me. I do believe that God is trying to give me a boost to fight the fight, and even though my Grandpa's battle ended 3-months after his diagnosis, and he knew it was terminal, he never gave up hope in God. In fact he wanted to get to as many people he could to tell them how great God was ... here is something I read at his funeral it is a conversation between him and his friend Pastor John Rohr.
Following is a summary of a phone conversation with Richard Shank on Wednesday, June 10, 2009. Richard had just discovered one week earlier that he is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that is already affecting his mobility and could conceivably affect his brain in the near future.
Pastor John Rohr
Two days after I met with you and your dad, I discovered that I have cancer, a particularly aggressive form of cancer that is traveling up my spine. When I drove home from breakfast with you two weeks ago, that was the last time I drove a car. Since then, my mobility has lessened to the point that I will not be able to walk in the very near future.
The doctor told me that the cancer will then spread to the brain, rendering me unable to function in a thinking capacity. I am currently on pain medication, but I am careful in its use, because it is already affecting my retention of thoughts and words when I am in conversation. I want to remain lucid as long as possible because I still have so much to say to my loved ones and friends.
I am not afraid to die.
Naturally, there will be sadness when that day comes. I have worked with enough families as a chaplain to know the grief that many experience when a loved one dies. Yet I also know with the utmost assurance that when the day of my funeral arrives, I will be the lucky one, for I will be in heaven, in perfect fellowship with my Lord.
While I do not want to leave my family, I look forward to that day when I will walk the streets of heaven. Not because of someone's image of golden streets. That is not what I find attractive about heaven, but the warmth and joy of being fully in the presence of God and singing his praises. I believe that we don't have a clue to how glorious heaven is. When we reach that place of (being with) God, we will be so amazed by the reality of eternity, that we will be, forever singing the praises of God's kingdom.
That's why I want to go through these radiation treatments. I still have so much I want to say to my family and my friends and anyone else who will listen. Short of going out and stopping traffic, I want to tell as many people as I can what I have learned about what is truly important in life.
I remember several years ago talking to Ken Harrison, a local golfer who had won many awards in that sport. He had just discovered he was full of cancer, and he said to me, "Dick, do you see all those trophies? They are nothing but junk to me now. Worthless pieces of treasure that are absolutely helpless in addressing my current predicament."
That's what is on my mind now as well.
I want to help people consider the things that are filling their lives, and to tell them that most of those things, that they think they cannot live without, are worth nothing to them in light of eternity.
This is where I still have something to offer those who will listen.
You see, I have lived what one could call a successful life in the world's terms. But none of that means anything to me today. The only thing that I care about is to be at the center of God's will. Everything else is secondary to being in the presence of God.
I can honestly say that these last few years have been the most meaningful time of my life. I cannot count the number of times I have ministered to the dying, holding them in my arms as they died, never knowing my name.
Now I find myself in the same state of being, and I bear this responsibility to share what is in my heart. “God so loved me, in spite of myself, that he gave his only Son, and that believing in him, I may have
So today I will keep going on my Grandpa's strength, and know that God has a plan for us all. Thank you Grandpa for being so strong in your faith and giving me a little peace today, and thank you to those who continue to send cards, Bible verses, encouraging words, and prayers lifting me up so God can have His way with me.