Monday, February 07, 2011

The beginning of the end...

Today I spoke, for the first time, to my church... from the pulpit. Don't worry. I wasn't really doing what some would call preaching. Just sharing about what God's done in my life recently. I only spoke for about five minutes. If you didn't believe in miracles before, the fact that I was able to shut up after five minutes should, alone, be proof enough for you that God is still performing them in our lives and world.

It was a great way to start my day. You see, or read at least, I used Facebook to invite approximately 180 friends to join me at church. I promised them donuts, no Bible thumping and information I hadn't shared with anyone yet. Surprisingly, to me, at least eight friends showed up. (Church invitations aren't very popular and, after all, it was Super Bowl Sunday.) What was amazing about it was, of all the people I invited there were around fifteen to twelve who I really wanted to see there. People it was immensely important to me to have them show up. Those who did show up were, in large part, members of that small group for which I had really prayed. So, right of the bat, God hit me with another unexpected blessing.

Wait, did he say "another" unexpected blessing? What did he mean, "another"?

Well, I shared here recently that in spite of the pain that was expected, and almost medically necessary, as I was forced to go off of my Celebrex, the pain lasted a day and was gone. Don't misunderstand. I still have pain from the bulging disks in my back and all the pain I had before this cancer journey started. But the majority of pain I've experienced since starting chemo, especially related to my joints, is gone. I walked into church without my cane for the first time since we started attending there almost a year ago.

God took it all even further. I've gone back and forth on the issue before. It's a difficult decision. But after speaking to my wife, a lot of prayer and even more tears I feel comfortable in saying that I am done with chemo. I spent a few days away from the pain. Away from the cane. God provided the grants we needed to continue my chemo. But they wouldn't pay for surgeries, MRIs, hospitalizations, etc. If I continue this process I'm looking at leaving my wife between $100,000 and $300.000 in debt. To top that off, it means going out of this world in more pain than, at this point, I'm willing to endure. After living without the pain, I just don't want to go back.

Here's the audio recording of what I said on Sunday:

Don't misunderstand, I'm a man who believes thoroughly in the power and miracles of God. I believe that He can heal me. But, and I've said this before, I don't believe that's God's plan. I'm not sure of all His reasons. I do know that there are people I've talked to who've been touched by my "mission" (for lack of a better word) to get people to make a choice to react with joy to their lives. I've spoken with people who say that learning the concept of choosing joy has turned their life around. I've received emails, letters, phone calls and hand shakes. At this point, those people alone are reason enough for me to trust God's purpose in this cancer. If He chooses to heal me at some point before I go "home" to see Him, that's great. But I'm not so sad about going to see Him sooner.

Missing my wife, pup and family aside... I believe the purpose of our lives is to return to God and spend eternity praising and rejoicing with Him. If that's the purpose, I'm on my way.

Not that I'm in any way done here. I have a music project planned, possibly the beginning of a book that Kristin would be able to finish off, and I'm still working on those urns. But the medical likelihood is I'm almost done.

While I'm here. Thank you. Thank you all for following, reading, praying, supporting, buying bracelets, wearing bracelets and even donating some cash here and there. I wouldn't be here without you. You keep reading, and I'll keep living for as long as I can.

Please don't forget that I'm still collecting pictures of the Choose Joy! bracelets with, in and on inanimate objects. You can send them to me at, on Facebook, or you can mail an *gasp* actual photo to:

Aaron, Kristin & Belle
PO Box 72047
Eugene, OR 97401

Here's a couple for inspiration. Please, oh please, join in the fun!

Also, also, wik... I need some help. Not looking for money, just a hook-up. Now that I'm off chemo it's a almost sure thing that the 17th of this month is my last anniversary with Kristin. It will be our fourth anniversary and all we really wanted to do was have a nice dinner out and then stay the night at a local hotel and spend some time alone. Unfortunately we have no money.

I'm wondering if anyone has a connection locally that could get us a night at a nice hotel. We're not really the antique bed and breakfast type. But if it was something more modern it would be perfect. Nothing sleazy. Our favorite hotel in the world is The Inn At Northrup Station. But that's in Portland and I know nobody has that kind of connection down here (though if you do... that's perfect!) Something similar or nice like The Pheonix Inn or Hilton would be perfect. Sorry. Just trying to do right by my wife one last time. Let me know if you have an idea.

Sorry to beg once again. It's just where I'm at.


Ivy said...

You know when I read the title of this post, my heart sunk. But then I listened to you speak. Aaron you write a lot about joy, but sometimes I wondered if you were writing to find the brighter side of life. I think I feared this because I've done it, I guess writing can sometimes be a way of fully convincing ourselves into something that we may be holding onto by strings. I know I've done it, and I certainly haven't faced anything like you and your wife have.

But I can honestly say, I hear the joy in your voice. I hear true faith in your words. I hear the love you have for others in your tone and laughter. I know I've said, er... uh... typed this before, but you are such an inspiration. No, you're more than that. You're the standard of a Christian that we all need to strive for. You have every reason to be angry, sad, self-loathing, but you chose to praise, lift up the name of Christ, encourage others. You chose to believe in the power of God despite all the natural signs that would tell the rest of us not to. You're the type of believer we all read about in the Bible.

Thank you. I know it's just words on a screen, but really... thank you. Thank you for showing us, for showing me, what faith looks like. It's easy to believe in God when everything is going well, but it's not easy when times get tough. I feel guilty about all of the times I've questioned and fallen away after getting to know you, but I also feel stronger knowing that this kind of faith isn't just something people like Job and Paul experienced. It's real.

God bless ya brother!

aaron jamison said...

Thank you Ivy. I'm humbled by your response. Your words crush my ego like lemons into a punch. (I have no idea what that means.)

My only disagreement is that I am NOT the "standard of a Christian that we all need to strive for"... Simply because we must strive to be like Christ in all things. Though we are, of course, doomed to fail. As we must remind each other to judge the Church based on Christ's actions and not the action of Christians, we must also remind ourselves that we are nothing without Christ.

Ivy said...

Lemons into a punch... hmmm... I guess that's better than being the vodka slipped into the punch? Maybe not. :)

I agree, we should strive to be like Christ in all ways. But when it comes to having faith in Christ, you really have raised the bar. I don't think faith and trust are naturally easy in this world of pain and sorrow, but when you meet (even virtually) someone with the level of joy, trust, humility that you have, it really leaves an impression. I'm glad I found your blog. As always, you and your family are in my prayers. God bless ya, brother!