Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Donation for a New Life

The following story appeared in our local paper, the Peterborough Examiner, yesterday.  Written by a good friend and editor at the Examiner, Ed Arnold, the article chronicles the health concerns of another friend of ours, Tim Dalliday (pictured).  Please pray for Tim and his family as they trust God to provide a donor and to give His strength and abiding peace as they wait patiently.

Ed Arnold writes:  
Tim Dalliday is looking for a new life.

A healthy life that doesn't include fever, chill, fatigue, internal bleeding, that sense of never knowing and the threat of a decaying life.

The 45-year-old father of two, Rachel, 14, and Jack, 11, is hesitant to go public with his problems, but it's another way he may get that new life . . . by finding a donor.

From the outside he looks fit and trim but an organ inside him is eating away at his life. 

The athletic Tim, who was running half marathons only a year ago, has a rare liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), without a definite cause that inflames your bile ducts. Bile is the stuff we need to digest fat and take the waste from our livers.

When the ducts narrow, of course, the bile stays in the liver, which causes damage and leads to various problems. Some people can be treated and live a good life but it can be a life-threatening disease for others.

In Tim's case doctors have told him he needs a portion of someone's liver within two years.

He has been searching for some time for the right match and had two donors rejected at the last minute when their own medical issues showed up.

Now, he waits again. His life is in limbo.

"I have one more donor who has sent in his medical information and waiting to hear back if TGH is going to proceed with the tests they put donors through."

But he's worried that this one may not work out. He also knows his sporting hero, former National Football League superstar Walter Payton, died of the disease while waiting for the same transplant. In the meantime he contacted pancreatic cancer and any hopes of a transplant faded. There is a good chance Tim could develop the same problems, so he is taking a proactive approach while he is still relatively fit hoping he can get a donor sooner rather than later or worse, never.
In 1993 Tim was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. About 5% of males who have this develop PSC and five years later he did. He was put on medication with the knowledge that most people would be in need of a transplant within 10 years. He lasted 13. He believes it was because he kept so fit doing half marathons, triathlons, and playing sports.

However, it has became progressively worse and there has been more damage to the liver.

Now he waits.

He works at Peterborough Volkswagen and says work is the best thing for him right now.

"I park my worries at the curb and that helps." The Eatson family (owners of the dealership) has been very supportive and completely understanding."

Tim might be off work six months if he goes through the transplant operation that would regenerate a liver after doctors removed his diseased one.

His frustration, concern and worries are obvious. He has a wife, Leslie, the two children and anyone that knows Tim knows he a family man first and foremost.

"I just want to find a donor and move ahead with the procedure and hopefully lead a healthy, active lifestyle for years to come."

The donor would give up a portion of his liver, which would regenerate.

Another local man Nicci Johnston, 30, did this five years ago to save the life of his wife's uncle. It's the only organ in the human body that does regenerate.
Nicci, an active athlete with two of his own children, donated about 70 per cent of his liver, which regenerated and he has had few problems since. The person who gets that portion grows a healthy, operational liver.

Tim, the son of well-known retired sports broadcaster Gary Dalliday, and brother of another popular local broadcaster, Pete, was placed on the organ donation list at Toronto General Hospital in February.

"My rare liver condition has hit the point where transplantation will give me more life than my current liver will."

"I'm feeling pretty good and have bounced back nicely from a recent blood infection in July."

Because his original transplant operation was scheduled for Aug. 4 he looks on the positive side. "I got to finish the season coaching Jack's baseball team."
"So where do things go from here you ask?" he tells his friends in a recent letter to them to update his condition and look for a willing donor.

"Well, I still need a donor to step up who has type A or O blood and is healthy and under age 65."

He took the plunge to write the note in case they could, or would, help.

He knows how difficult it is to ask for this kind of assistance and how difficult it might be to make the decision to assist, but what else can he do, sit and wait for a phone call?

"If they are willing to help they should go their family doctor to learn their blood type and fill out the health questionnaire on the T.O. General Multi-Organ Transplant website (about a six page form).

"You fill it out and then fax it back to them. They are pretty quick at getting back to you; they will book you the next week for various testing such as MRI, CT Scan, ultrasound and blood work. They do it all in one day! Fun stuff eh! The medical information is confidential and I don't even know who has stepped forward. They assign a cocoordinator to you and I have my own. (Tim wouldn't even know you've done it.)

"Until then I will wait patiently (Job should have been my middle name...) and put the situation into God's hand for I know He has a plan and a purpose for my life."

Tim says "The biggest thing I'm looking for is someone's generosity to make that ultimate sacrifice so I can live a regular life. I would be humbled by their generosity."

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Call

On a recent Insight for Living broadcast Chuck Swindoll referred to the book The Call by Os Guinness.  As I already owned the book, I took it off my shelf to peruse it.

The following quote caught my attention:

"Perhaps you are frustrated by the gap that still remains between your vision and your accomplishment.  Or you may be depressed by the pages of your life that are blotched with compromises, failures, betrayals, and sin.  You have had your say.  Others may have had their say.  But make no judgments and draw no conclusions until the scaffolding of history is stripped away and you see what it means for God to have had His say - and made you what you are called to be."

I'll wait 'til later to comment on this quote.  All I can say is that it grabbed me and made me think...deeply.  Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No Wonder They Call Me "Fish"

When I was a kid they called me "Red", "Stretch", "Bucky" and a few other not-so-nice nicknames.

It wasn't until I started working with the Peterborough Petes 15 years ago that I got the nickname "Fish".

A few professional baseball players would refer to me as "Fish" but it was mostly hockey players who called me that.

I certainly didn't get the nickname for my ability to catch fish.  The only catch of any consequence was a nice largemouth bass I snagged as a teenager.  Little did I know that it was caught out of season. What a sinner! I was so proud of the picture someone took of me holding that beauty.  It's good I didn't show it to the game warden.

Nowadays our vehicles have a "fish" symbol on the back, signifying that we are "Christians".  Hopefully my driving doesn't negate what I'm trying to convey.

Anyhow, enough of this "Fish" talk.  The kid in the picture is NOT me but I "loved" the photo, courtesy of the Sacred Sandwich web site.  Check out some of the pics.  Hopefully you'll get a few good laughs.  If not, all I can say is "Lighten up, my friends!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

When the Father Brings Flowers

Regular readers of these Pilgrim Scribblings know how much I appreciate the writing of fellow scribe (do you call a lady..."fellow"?) Ann Voskamp and her Holy Experience blog.  Today's post grabbed me and Ann's story kept my attention right to the end.

Ann writes:

"When love slips in from behind unannounced, it arrests, and who can do anything but just surrender to the happy grace?

Yet what could have prepared me, really?

Prepared me for what I find out the back kitchen window on an August afternoon all tired and greying with clouds... I mean, some kid did yell it as he rocked the front porch swing like a bronco, “Grandpa Morton’s here!”

But that didn’t warn me much, ‘cept to clean away a stack of books from the counter, gather up the tomatoes lining the sill. I pile them, summer’s largest berries, and I know how Dad likes his tomatoes.

With salt and pepper and a slice of cheese on thick bread and a dark glass of Welchel’s grape juice frothing. Maybe I could pick him quick a basket of Beefmaster ’s, red juice suns, from the kitchen garden? Right after I wipe the counters, pick up the shoes strewn in the mudroom, and how exactly do these the errant pieces of Stratego keep migrating, an army into kitchen territory?

Dad did just happen to mention when he called last week — and I do just happen to remember right now — that he prides himself on his house where guests are scared to misplace anything. I scoop up a dropped sock, a broken purple crayon, a shriveled up apple core. I look out the back window.

Where have the kids got him at now? Have I still got time to get a way a mess of laundry?

And out the window I see him right there. On the back stoop in his Wranglers, the tongues of his work boots all flopping open, and Malakai talking his ear off all aminated with his arms circling gestures nearly as big as his smile and Shalom tugging on his arm and attention and Dad’s nodding and grinning under his tattered farm cap. I stand fixed. The wonder making me memorize. I can't quite believe this... just like this.

Crumbly floor? Laundry stacks? Shoe piles? I don’t remember. I whisper it, barely audible, to me, to the moment, to the Farmer somewhere in the study paying bills.

“I never could have imagined this.”

I open the back door and he gives me glads in a recycled Cheez Whiz jar.

"Oh Dad." He's got oil stains on his work shirt.

I swallow hard. He shrugs his shoulders. He was just driving by. Had equipment to pick up.

I’ll happen to remember this forever. How you never know when love might come knocking unannounced at your door. How you never know who loves. How you mustn't ever stop believing. How he even blushed, boyish, shuffling in boots.

I pick him a basket of tomatoes from the garden, ruby love jewels, and he pulls out one or two redroot pigweed as tall as his waist and he tells me I sure do grow some pretty exotic vegetables out here. And I remember not to be so sensitive, not so serious, and I laugh.

He tells me he saw better bouquets of glads at the end of other Mennonite lanes on his way home and he felt sorta bad, but this Cheez Whiz one was more in his price range anyways, and I have to laugh because why let anything snatch away love? His eyes glint.

I hand him his tomato basket. He looks in my eyes. I nod. He nods. We exchange more than gladioli and tomatoes and I’m had by the love unexpected, the hope still strong, the tender surprises only God can imagine.

But maybe none of this requires imagining, only the opening of eyes.

To all these moments... when the Father brings flowers."

Note:  Photo by Ann Voskamp.  Good photographer too!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beyond Definition?

Determining who a Christian believer is and what he or she stands for has become a complicated exercise over the last half century or so it seems.

When I entered my teenage years, the world’s population was divided into two people groups the “saved” and the “lost”. You were one or the other. That was my simplistic opinion at least.

If you were fortunate to be among the “saved” you were likely a fundamentalist or an evangelical. A handful of others professed to be “Christian” but affiliated themselves with “liberal” protestant denominations thus causing me to question their salvation. I had all the answers and had established myself as the supreme judge.

Then there were the Catholics. Even though they accepted the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, sinless life, death, burial and resurrection, their veneration of Mary, belief in purgatory and insistence that entrance to heaven was gained though infant baptism made them suspect. How could you be a Christian and a Catholic at the same time?

With the passing of time the term “fundamentalist” became a label to be scorned, resisted and even despised by some. The fundamentalist’s tendency towards legalism caused many to abandon the term and refer to themselves simply as “evangelicals”. Nowadays some are even re-thinking that terminology and defining themselves in other ways.

At times it seems like the things that separate and distinguish us from each other are greater than those that bring unity. Reading some of the current “Christian” literature, books and magazines makes you feel as though you’re from another planet. What are these writers talking about anyway? My own biases will become apparent here. The proliferation of terms like “moving in the prophetic” and “the new apostolic reformation” scare me. Am I “less than” because I’m not an apostle or a prophet? But I digress…

So what label do those who claim to accept Jesus Christ as God’s only means of salvation accept? Here is where the waters get muddied. We could be classified by any mixture or combination of the following terms. Pick one, two or even three or four, add them together (in any order) and define yourself.

Arminian, Amillenialist, Baptist, Bible-believer, Calvinist, Charismatic, Contemplative, Cessationist, Dispensationalist, Evangelical, Emergent, Full Gospel, Holiness, Independent, Liturgical, Name it and claim it, Non-cessationist, Post-modern, Post-post-modern, Premillenialist, Postmillenialist, Pentecostal, Preterist, Reformed, Spirit-filled, Word of Faith, ad nauseum.

So who am I? How would another Christian define me when they don’t really know what I believe, what I think, what I aspire to? How could they know when much of the time I’m not even sure myself?

The conclusion…

I’m a child of God, redeemed by His grace alone, a recipient of His mercy, forgiven, transformed and being conformed into His likeness, guaranteed a place in heaven according to His promises.

I could add more but…we’d be back where I started from…confused.

David Fisher

April 13th, 2008

Walking Beside

While rummaging through my desk the other day, trying to make sense of stacks of papers, I found the following note that encouraged me.  I trust you will find it helpful as well.

It was entitled "Walking Beside the Weak & Wounded".

The anonymous writer wrote:

"I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see.
I sought my God, but my God eluded me.
I sought my brother, and I found all three."

Something to think about...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Lord Provides

For weeks my office (in our home) has been in disarray.  Pictures sitting against the wall waiting to be hung.  Files unorganized.  Books stuck on the shelves in no particular order.  It was hard to get anything done.

Today I looked at one of the texts that was sitting on the floor, leaning up against the wall.  It reads simply..."The Lord Provides".  Does He?  Will He?  Is a miracle just around the corner?

This present (and long-lasting) bout with depression has been a catastrophe in more ways than I care to think about.  Now, at age 65, I'm out of work and wondering..."will the Lord provide"?  I know He does.  I know He has.  But will He again?

Sometimes we overlook the "small" ways that He meets our needs.  We are looking for the BIG miracles when smaller ones are all around us.

In the past week there have been two HUGE examples of how a sovereign God looks after His own.

We needed a van.  We had looked "everywhere".  Well, not quite, but we had searched for four weeks but to no avail.  On Monday we finally found one...right here in Peterborough.  The price was much too high.  Carol told the salesman what our circumstances were and what we could spend.  The van was listed at $10,995.  We could only spend about $9,000. taxes included.  So what did God do?  He gave us the van for that price.  The salesman dropped the price by over $3,000.

When I left my job I lost all our medical benefits.  Both boys have braces on their teeth.  How would we pay for the balance owing?  Incredibly the plan at my work had covered orthodontics.  Very generous!  Carol spoke with the staff at the orthodontist's office about our dilemma.  The doctor was consulted.  His response?  'Don't worry about it.  It's been looked after."  The amount owing?  About $4,500.  Does God still supply our needs?  Without question.

So why do I worry?  Why do I fret?  The Lord has never failed us yet.

But please pray for a job for me.  I need meaningful employment.  I can't sit around scribbling like a pilgrim all day long.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Legacy Lives On...Part 2

From the archives...hope you get a laugh.  These guys were around long before Southern Gospel arrived...

The Tunesmiths from West Croydon, England traveled throughout the British Isles on weekends singing the great old gospel hymns and songs.

Although all four men had the same last name, Smith, these old tyme songsters were from three different families and were not related. Delbert Smith (in white in the center) played the organ and occasionally sang with the others. His brother Albert, in the back row, was an excellent baritone who also enjoyed a solo career and often performed at Albert Hall (what a coincidence?). Elmer on the left and Samuel on the right added incredible harmonies to the group.

The group was formed in 1892 and crossed over to France for an evangelistic campaign in 1899 where thousands came to know Christ.

I've been unable to find a CD of The Tunesmiths but their legacy lives on... in my mind at least...for, you see, I just concocted the story because I liked the old-fashioned picture.

Get out your old hymnbooks, friends!

P. S. Sorry, I couldn't resist doing this!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Worth Repeating

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged as a traitor for plotting to assassinate Adolf Hitler on April 9th, 1945.  A committed Christian, he left us a legacy in his writings.

This quote is worth repeating as I contemplate the value of good friends during a time of struggle:

"The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer...the Chrisitan needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him.  He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged." from Life Together (New York, Harper & Row, 1954)

So true!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Churchill's Black Dog

What did Sir Winston Churchill and David Fisher have in common along with hundreds of thousands of others?  They/we all had to deal with our "black dog" of depression.
It was said of Churchill:
"Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished."

Churchill's black dog

"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything. A few drops of desperation." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Churchill made frequent references to his depression, which he called his "black dog".

Many believe Sir Winston coined the expression "black dog" himself, but this expression is actually much older. Click here to read brief history of this metaphor for depression from Paul Foley through the Black Dog Institute.

Churchill's depressive periods tended to be intense and prolonged. Sometimes they were connected with traumatic external events such as his dismissal from the Admiralty after the Dardanelles disaster in WWI. Other times they could not be atrributed to such outside causes, fitting the classic profle of serious unipolar or bipolar depression. His depressions came and went throughout his long and remarkable life, and commenced in his youth.

Churchill seemed to be aware that his depression was a medical condition. In 1911 a friend of Churchill's claimed to have been cured of depression by a doctor. Churchill wrote about this with some excitement in a letter to his wife, Clementine:

"I think this man might be useful to me - if my black dog returns. He seems quite away from me now - it is such a relief. All the colours come back into the picture."

However, Churchill was writing at a time before the development of effective medication, when the main medical approach to mood disorders was psychoanalytic. Churchill's doctor, Lord Moran, wrote a memoir about his famous patient, emphasizing the black dog - it describes plenty of symptoms but no treatment. (Although when Churchill was almost 80, Dr Moran did prescribe some speed to give Sir Winston enough of a boost to make a final speech in Parliament.)
David's comment...Praise God for the tools He has given us to fight off our black dogs.  We may be dogged on every side but we have His amazing grace and His unlimited power to equip us. Oh that I might remember that when he comes barking every day!

Note: Thanks to my friend Mary Elliott for inspiring me to look into the "black dog" of Sir Winston Churchill.

He Is

These words came to me recently while ruminating (whatever that means):

Pain more than you can bear
So numb you just don't care
It seems like God's not there...

David W. Fisher - August 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

It's All In The Heart

Every so often I stumble upon a new blog that encourages me along the bumpy, detour-ridden pilgrim path.  Lori's It's All In The Heart is one of those.

I've added it to my links but why not check it out here.

Have a great day, friends.  We don't make our journey alone.  The God who knows us...leads us.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Jim Elliot Lives On

In response to an earlier post which mentioned Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr, I received a comment from Robert Lloyd Russell concerning a book with several of Elliot's sermons in it.  I am ordering it.  Maybe you should too.

Get more information on the book here and also read his excellent blog here.

Jim Elliot lives on and his life continues to challenge and inspire Christian believers everywhere.

Thank you for your comment, Robert!