27 04 2021

PASTOR RUDY           APRIL 28 2021

I am not always a fan of silence. I know everyone needs some quiet time every now and then, but I was born a communicator. I want to know what others are thinking and the ideas they have to offer. I desire to be in the loop in what makes someone laugh, what makes them cry and how they are dealing with a present situation. I don’t really believe silence is golden. As a matter of fact, I see the lack of response as a negative before I would ever label it as a positive.

I for one am a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. One never needs to wonder what type of day I am having. I will tell you. You might say that I overcommunicate. Maybe it is one of the reasons that I am drawn to social media. I love sharing my faith and my heart on Facebook and Twitter and the like. It has opened doors to meeting people that I would never have known otherwise. I understand that as in every area of life, there are precautions and boundaries that should be carefully laid out, but I must say that I have had some great conversations that have allowed me to change the label from stranger to friend.

I am shocked by the lack of the significant exchanges that could occur but don’t happen in spite of the plethora of avenues available to cultivate authentic bonds together these days. People settle to express nothing deeper than surface cliches and meaningless banter that doesn’t break the barrier that will being them closer to one another. Many have been burned by relational situations that backfired and betrayed them. Words can become like grenades and when sentences that sting begin to blow up the personal spirit, it doesn’t bounce back that quickly. But to commit to being on the peripheral when real life happens in the middle is no way to behave at all.

Have you experienced sending a note, a text, an email, a Facebook message only to wait for an answer that doesn’t come? It’s not that the response rate is just as slow as snail mail. It is that the return volley to your first serve never comes at all. Is it because society has made telling the truth an optional action? Are people becoming colder to the surrounding culture because fear has run rampant where faith used to dwell? The world may be noisier than ever, but are we longing for statements that build up rather than break down? Like Bruce Springsteen sang in the 1980’s, “Everybody Has a Hungry Heart,” the cupboard that holds the daily diet to drive away the grumbling stomach is filled with fast food that teases but never satisfies.   

In the past few months, I have learned the cold reality that cancer is so much more than just a physical battle. There are days that the silence itself is deafening! Oh, the hormones are chanting away a mile a minute, but as I learned back when I was teen, the feelings they cry out don’t always confirm the facts. This makes for an even more challenging adventure as you navigate your way through another difficult day. Kind, encouraging and most importantly, sincere words from family and friends are necessary tools to fuel the chaotic matters of the heart and the soul! Nobody can fix the diagnosis, but company makes the destination doable. Our erratic emotion may conduct itself like the last ride you rode on the roller coaster at the amusement park, but when there is someone laughing, crying, and screaming in the seat next to you, you know you are going to make it. You both know what the thrill was all about and only a glance at your buddy has allowed you to share more than this article could ever say.

But because we feel like we cannot fix the pain, we avoid the contact like a plague. Because things might force the shedding of a tear or two, we try to spy out the exit door as fast as we can. Faith jumps in to even the deep parts of the swimming pool, especially when we see our swimmer struggling. Truth is the only commodity that will set a loved one free. Love holds on for dear life as the hurricane winds try to pry away the grip of your husband, your wife, your child, or your friend clinging on to you. God made us to dwell within community and isolation is a tragedy especially when it isn’t necessary. The Beatles got it right when they sang, “We get by with a little help from our Friends!”

During the six weeks of radiation treatments, I have had to adjust the load on the road of my daily activities. I have two more weeks to go. I must show up with a full bladder which makes going too far from the bathroom the rest of the day is not wise. Needless to say, I have spent much time alone. Some days I feel better than others. There are times that I just want to talk things out. I call it venting. I expect to kick this cancer to the curb. But life will be different for me on the other side. I have always been a Type A personality. My productivity even at 61 would give any 40-year-old a run for his or her money. But I know my times they are a changing. I have no doubt that I have lots left in the tank. My wife and I are about to enter what many call the empty nest for the first time since the summer of 1986. I have 8 beautiful grandchildren. I want to coach them as I coached my own kids. I want to continue to pastor and preach. I love doing radio. I am not running out of ideas to write more articles any time soon. But I am a talker. I need to process out loud. I must communicate and the best way to do so is when it is a two-way conversation. The cat has never had my tongue and the Lord is still my strength and shield. To put it plainly, the enemy will never silence me. Even when I breathe my last this side of heaven, my life will still be shouting praises from the rooftops. 

I share this so if you have someone in your world walking through this valley of covid or cancer or some other disease, keep on talking, singing, sharing, and participating in plugging in to the soul of the one you claim to care so much about. Do not allow what’s going without saying to be left unsaid. Don’t assume that you are treading where someone has wrongly put up a “No Trespassing” sign. God is opening doors and changing lives. Our Lord can do miracles in the midst of the mine fields. As a new praise song sings, God is “Not Done Yet!”

I have cherished every post and prayer from loved ones. I am keeping all the cards as keepsakes of the journey. I am grateful for the Doctors, Nurses and Techs at the Cape Regional Cancer Center. I get radiated to the music of Sirius/XM seventies channel on most days. I sing on the table and while in transit. I do not believe the cancer is good but there is life coming out of this craziness. As a Pastor, God has called me to do way more than just preach on Sundays. It is to walk with the sheep and love on them through it all. Jesus did the same for me. It is the least that I can do to serve Him by reciprocating the gift that He has talked with me all along the way. Silence is not even an issue because when the Lord appears to be out of hearing range, I still have His word on everything that matters in the Bible. This is not a season to be quiet. It is a time to share the happenings of your heart. He cares. I care and there is someone in your world today who needs to know that you care!



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