Today is May 1st, 2019, this is going to be a little different post then the other ones. In this post I just want to talk to all of you from my heart, I don’t know where you are at in the world and it really doesn’t matter, because what I want you to see today is this, I keep asking myself, am I in the world to make to a difference or am I in the world just to coast along without any care in the world?
I have been a Chaplin at the Douglas County Jail System for about thirty years, it is something I’m very passionate about, I would say in a lifetime we really only have a few things to be passionate about, or at best it seems that way. We are constantly being bombarded with bad news and problems that seem to attack us on a daily basis. And we have to ask ourselves “What does it all mean” is there any real meaning to life, what is the real meaning of life?
Well, today I went to the jail-like I do every Wednesday morning, we meet at 7:00 am and discuss what has been going on in the jail ministry and the needs of those who are incarcerated, and what our plans are for that day. We have a group of seven men. We have a jail ministry bible studies on Wednesday morning where we see two groups of men and on Wednesday night we have scripture worship songs and preaching, where I see three groups of men, and then again on Sunday where I will preach to two or three groups of men depending on our time.
This morning was a little different than most mornings, I was really burdened in my heart for some reason, and as I was talking to my first group, there was a twenty-year-old black man named Carlos setting over by himself to the left side of the group. I didn’t ask him why, but I did ask the group, what is really missing in our Country today why is there so much hate and distrust and evil? Some of them answered because of religion some said politics some others said because it has always been that way!
Well, I would say that all answers have some merit no doubt. But you see I had to ask myself the question what does God want me to do, why am I here, and what is my real purpose?
I want to share with you if you don’t mind a little bit about my life. I was born in Michigan in a little city named Hazel Park. My family was a working-class family my dad worked construction and my mother stayed at home with the kids. We were by all standards poor, but we didn’t know it. But here’s what I want to talk to you about, at the age of three I jumped off a boat dock into Lake Erie and sunk to the bottom, my mother screaming at the top of her lungs, help, help Lee has jumped into the lake. My Uncle Charles ran down to the end of the dock but could not see me, but as he kept looking he seen the sun reflecting off my blue eyes and he jumped in and grabbed me by the hair of my head and I was just fine, not sure how long I was down there but it was a miracle I didn’t drown. Well, it wasn’t long till I broke my thumb, then I broke my arm, it was so bad they couldn’t put it in a cast for three weeks and then they weren’t sure it would heal right and I might lose the full use of it. Well, it healed but it is very crooked to this day, it was a miracle I could use my arm at all and I made the all-star baseball team the next summer as a catcher! Time went on and I broke a few more fingers and the normal bumps and bruises boys get. But this next story is my life-changing story!
It was February 6th, 1972 I was in the eleventh grade in high school and my friend David called me and asked me if I wanted to ride with him to Detroit to take his Aunt and Uncle some stuff for their trip to Hawaii. I said sure I’ll go with you, come and get me, this was on a Sunday night. We went down to his Uncle’s and delivered the stuff, I’m not sure what the stuff was? Anyway on our way home that night on the Southfield Freeway David said someone cut him off and we hit a patch of ice and the car went out of control and hit a light pole right where I was sitting. The car was a brand new Chevy Nova Super Sport just like the picture. It would fly, I’m not sure how fast we were going, but the front of the car was almost touching the rear of the car and there were eighteen inches of space between the driver’s door and the passenger door, and I was crushed in the metal.
A doctor saw us wreck and stopped and got in the car and somehow he did a tracheotomy on me and it saved my life at least for a while! See the picture below, he did this to me while I was jammed in the metal he couldn’t get me out. The doctor left and we never found out who he was? I got a feeling one day in heaven an angel is going to come up to me and say you don’t know me but I’m your Guardian Angel Psalms 34:7 Oh yea by the way it was me that got in that car and did the Trach. Good to see you!
Anyway they got me out and took me to the hospital, the closest hospital was Mount Sinai but they told the ambulance driver they couldn’t take me because they already had an emergency they were working on and they weren’t staffed for another one. So they took me to Mount Carmel Hospital. Right below.
What I’m getting ready to tell you will be hard to believe but it is the God’s honest truth.
By the time they got me to the hospital I was DOA, but they rushed me in and hooked me up to some life-saving equipment (by the way Mount Sinai didn’t have this equipment) and got me back breathing, but what they didn’t know was all the ribs on my right side were broke, my right lung was punctured and I was drowning in my own blood from the trach. Both of my legs were crushed and my spline was ruptured and my stomach was ruptured, my head was swollen to the size of a pumpkin, and my right eye was knocked out of the socket and hanging on the right side of my face and it was the size of an egg. I was unconscious and as far as they could see I wouldn’t live much longer. It just so happened that there was a meeting that night of five doctors that were at the hospital and I needed all five of them to work on me. My mother and dad got there and when they saw me both of them knew I was dead, but I wasn’t, not yet anyway. The doctor saw how bad I was swelling up and pockets of air were getting between my skin and muscle and causing these balloon-like pockets all over my body. The doctor punctured a hole in my right side and when he did blood shot out everywhere and they were wiping up blood with bedsheets, by this time they told my parents to get all my family there ASAP if they wanted to see me alive, my mother called my sister and her husband they lived in Atlanta, Georgia and told them what happen and they flew up on the next flight to see me and go to a funeral, my kid sister, of course, was at home and the neighbors brought her to the hospital.
While they were planning my funeral I was still hanging on, so by the third day, they told my parents “Hey he just might make it, he may live” but if he does live he will be a vegetable because of the brain damage and being unconscious, and if I lived they were going to have to amputate my left leg and they weren’t sure about the right leg! But mama said please do everything you can we will cross that bridge when we come to it! On the fifth day, I started to wake up and my mother said she never prayed so hard in all of her life, I couldn’t talk but I knew sign language and started asking questions on my hands and she said I knew you were going to be alright. Needless to say, I’m alive Amen! And the good news is a doctor from Dallas Texas by the name of Dr. Green not sure about his first name, told my parents he might be able to save my legs with a new operation using metal and so he fixed both my legs, my left leg the one they were going to cut off at the hip, he put plates, pins and screws and my right leg he fixed with a metal rod, and I was walking within six months and he took all the metal out eighteen months later. I wish I had some pictures to show you it truly was one miracle after another miracle. By the way, I was in the hospital for 42 days and I left in a wheelchair weighing 130 pounds I went from 180 pounds to 130 pounds I didn’t eat for the whole time I was in the hospital. IV’s is all I had to live on. Needless to say here it is 49 years later and I’m still going and praising the Lord for what He did!
Now, this is the final thing I’m going to say about miracles. It was October 31, 2013, I woke up that morning and I started spitting up blood and it scared me to death. I called Dr. Patel’s office and made an appointment, they took me in right away. He sent me right to the hospital for a chest x-ray and the very next morning he called me at home and sent me to get a CT Scan. The next day I went to a Pulmonary Doctor for the results, he was another Dr. Patel. The CT scan showed a mass on my right lung and I was off to the hospital to get a biopsy on the mass. They tried going in down my throat and getting the biopsy that way, it didn’t work so I went back to the hospital to get a needle biopsy, this is where they stick the needle through your side and into the mass, well my lung collapsed and I was in the hospital all night with that. The biopsy came back and it was stage 3 lung cancer, I never smoked in my life but they kept asking me how long did I smoke, the answer was always the same, NEVER!!!!
So on December 3rd, 2013, I went in to have my right lung removed, which I did and they got all the cancer. But by the 26th of December something very strange happened, I had been very sick but I thought it was because of the operation taking my lung out, I was wrong. I was getting ready to go to my Oncologist Dr. Andrew when I noticed some liquid running down my nightstand, I asked Annette what that was and she said “I don’t know” at that moment I lifted my right arm up and a stream of fluid was running out of my right side. That’s right my right side where they took the lung out, it broke open and there was an infection that had set up in my right lung cavity and it was pouring out of my side, and man did it ever stink. We called an ambulance and they came and took me to the hospital and operated right away it was a strep infection in that cavity where they removed my lung. I was so sick and I stayed in the hospital for 11 days with antibiotics and steroids running through my lung cavity 24 hours a day and I went home very sick, Then I had to start my chemo treatments, and man that was rough, it made me so sick I could not eat anything!
One year from that day December 26, 2014, I was so sick my daughter Brittany said daddy you really need to go to the hospital, so my wife carried me to Kennestone Hospital and they took me to emergency surgery, I had the same infection as before only this time it was worse, I was 2 days from dying and my doctor told me later that no one in the hospital thought I would ever go home alive. Another miracle from God, this is a picture of me in the hospital after the operation and of course, it was another round of antibiotics and steroids, I was in the hospital 21 days this time, but by the grace of God, I am completely cancer-free and going strong, preaching 3 to 12 times a week at the Jail.
<—— This picture is one year later, God is GOOD!
I’m not trying to gross you out but I want you to see the power of God and how He healed me and gave me life!
Now for the conclusion of all, I said.
I asked God what does He want me to do now, and for the rest of my life? And the Lord spoke to my heart and He said to me, “I want you to tell everyone you can that “I LOVE THEM” then he gave me the scripture:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”.
And that is exactly what I intend to do! HAVE A GREAT DAY!