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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting Started (entry 1)

2009 was an important year for me. It marked the end of my 40's.
As I approached 2010 as a 50 year old (fairly happily, I might add) I had begun look back with courage and honesty over past years to see what I had learned well, left undone or needed to move on from .
My goal was to become a more mature and loving person in the "infancy of my old age."

I even bought a new guitar - a high end, well crafed instrument that would honestly and faithfully reproduce the notes and tones that my soul could produce.
It was time to start putting some detail into the painting that is to be called my life.

So, what's Up?
The web address of this blog includes the words : "it's not always someone else ".

These are words I have used many times over past decades to help people face the cold and inevitable realities of life.
Words that attempt to say : "I will join you" - "I will be with you " -"Jesus has sent me to love you- and I am here to say that I do love you. "

The challenge of caring for others is far greater than you might think.
Each person's journey is unique. We relate and respond to to things differently . Events and people have formed our lives , shaping us through our own emotional networks and perceptions of that which has wounded us, healed us, loved , or even hated us.

Through the years as a member and priest of the Church, I have tried to be the ambassador of Christ who comes to "be with you".

As a friend I have walked with many through the entrance of theValley of the Shadow of Death and
I have journeyed (as best I could,) part way through the valley .
But....No other person can ever get you through to the other side of the Valley of Shadows .

Whatever brokeness causes your pain is yours alone.
Others who love you can share it,carry it for you,weep with you and ,even if they can carry you in their arms for a time, that time will end.
Thank God for those people. They are Sacramental. They give you glimpses of blue sky on a rainy day,they point out new life by offering their love, and because of them, the journey can become bearable...even beautiful - as God makes His point for your life known.

I am experienced enough in the valley of shadows to be able to point out sightings of Grace that I have seen there.
I know that they can be found.

Because I love my family-my beautiful wife, Children , Grand-Children, (and everyone God the Father has given me to love) as an earthly Father,AND as a Priest in the Church, I now offer to share my own journey into the Valley of the Shadow with you.

This past week I was diagnosed with cancer. It is fairly aggressive, pretty much inoperable - but treatable. But more about that later.

I have started this blog as a journal for those who wish to follow. My intent for it is to provide inspiration and light (as best I can - because the Doctors tell me things are going to get rough).
I share my story here, (just like I promised the Sunday Morning congregation at St. Martin's Cathedral in Gander ) because I believe in the power of Authentic Christian Community, and that we must share with one another.
I do not intend for this blog to become morbid or Maudlin - (look it up), but I hope to use some humour as well as some spiritual lessons that I will learn and Pass on to you.
May it be a gift.

Chanda, Elissa Lacey and Ashton...I love you.

Everyone - I've packed my Bags. See you at the Gate.
John.

38 comments:

Charleen said...

Rev. John,
I think of you so often and give you thanks for helping me through some tough times in my life. My prayers will continue for you as you fight this illness. God Bless :D

gjeanraymond said...

Our thoughts and prayers go with you on this journey. Through your love for all of us you have guided so many of us through rough waters and helped us to come to our appointed shores with grace and acceptance. May your road have few potholes and many gentle hills and valleys. God Bless and protect you! Much love,

Cindy&Tim said...

My Friend:
You are so special to so many people, and it is an honor to journey with you as you travel this road. We give thanks that our paths have crossed with yours, you have made a positive impact on our lives for the Lord. Our prayers are with you and that the Lord will use us to be instruments of His peace and love to you. Anything we can do you know we are here for you and Karen. Jesus is travelling on the road with you, He will comfort and heal you, and bring you His peace. God's Blessings and much Love.

Sandra said...

Rev'd John,
You have touched so many along your walk with God and I know you will continue to do so as you enter this challenging road. As Dean and I learned during his recent illness you have to be patient with yourself,family,friends,medical staff and physicians and even the Great Physician himself God but the strength and love and support that comes from all who surround you will lift you up. Keep positive! And know that we all hold you up with our prayers! God bless and feel the love of God around you!

mammydiaries said...

Beautiful.

John Watton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elissa said...

Daddy,
I love you. If there’s one thing I regret about the relationship that I have with you, it’s that I wasn’t perceptive enough to realize all you have tried to teach me. And I'm sorry to admit, I know there are still many more lessons flying around over my head uncaught.
but, I know, if there’s anything I can celebrate, it’s how much more I appreciate those lessons now that I understand them, or at least, finally starting to understand.
And I can celebrate how very much I love and respect the man who tried my whole life to spare me from crashing by keeping at least one of my feet on the ground.

I wish I could carry you now the way you have carried me so often over the course of my life.

Stephen Roberts said...

Rev'd John,
:d This is not good, but i know you'll pull through it, were all here for you. Oh and has anyone every told you, you have amazing oratory skills (you might need to look that one up :P)!

heatherlisag said...

You have been and continue to be such a blessing to so many. Stay strong, keep that light of yours shining even in the shadows and sorrows you face. May God continue to bless you, guide you, and comfort you on this journey.

nikkibuffett said...

thinking about you john
rev. neal and family
<3

Jennifer said...

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." NLT Romans 8:28

Stay strong, God will work out His purpose and plan even in this!

God bless u!

Stella King Cumben said...

Sometimes only God Himself can help us understand,when life starts going differently from what we may have planned~when things we used to count on don't seem certain anymore,Or when we're facing challenges we've never known before.Sometimes only God Himself can put our hearts at rest By showing that He loves us and He always knows what's best.Keeping You Close In Thoughts and Prayers.

Michele Pelley said...

Hi Rev. John & Karen - thinking of you guys - you are great people and so full of love and light. You will make it through this! God bless, take care & keep strong.....love Michele, Clint, Katie, Mike, Lucas & Jake xoxo

Sherry said...

Stay strong,John, my thoughts and prayers are with you, hold on to your faith, it will get you through any thing that comes!

mishtess said...

Mom called me tonight with the news and led me to the blog. So sorry to hear the news but cancer doesn't know who it's messing with this time! I am reminded of all the times that you were there to help me through the difficult times - too many to mention - and your sense of humour was never far away (no one else could understand that sometimes it IS appropriate to be telling jokes at a funeral home!)
All my best wishes, thoughts prayers and love are with you, Karen and the girls. Wish I could be there to hug you all in person, but it has to be long distance.
So get ready and open your arms 'cause here it comes....ooohhhh that's a big hug!!
I'll try to keep in better touch.
God bless,
Michele

ltemple said...

Rev,John
I'm wishing you many thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much for baptizing my three children. It hit home to hear of your diagnosis as I just lost my father 3 months ago after a brief battle with cancer. It's been the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my life and I still miss him terribly and can't believe that he is actually gone and I will never see him again. You have many family and friends that will be praying for you and sending good thoughts your way. I pray that you stay as comfortable as possible and that your faith keeps you strong through this journey that you have to go through. God bless.....Lana Temple

Joanne Laite said...

Hi Revd John. Our family has been thinking about you so much over the past few days and praying for you. You have taught us so much. You have embraced Megan and Emily with open and loving arms and have made them feel welcome in the church, for that I thank you! We are here if you need anything.
Love, Joanne, Shawn, Megan and Emily

Tina said...

Hello Rev. John...my goodness finding the right words to say to such a wonderful caring man. Your friendship has always meant a lot to my family, especially my dad who spoke very highly of you. After my dad passed away I realized that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed to the fullest each and every day, so my prayers and thoughts for you are ones of music, smiles and lots of family love and friendships all around you. Enjoy your new guitar and make a joyful sound. Sending a great big hug with love and prayers...Tina, Scott, Jacob and Laurel

bruce said...

John
As you begin this journey into the Valley, you know that you do not journey alone. As you have done numerous times in your ministry, we will now journey with you as far as we can. Even though we are limited in how far we can journey with you, you know that there is one who will journey with you always. The doctors have told you that the journey will get rough. When it does, let Him lead you, even carry you if need be, on the right pathways and find peace for your body and soul beside the still waters.
You know where I am. Any thing, any time, just call and I will be there.
You, Karen and the family know that you will always be in our hearts and in our prayers.
Rev Bruce & Cora

shawnw said...
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shawnw said...

Hi Rev. John,
I was blown away this morning when Beryl told me the news.
I've always felt that God brought you to St. Martin's at just the right time to work through you and your unique gifts to touch and enrich the lives of so many. Our family has been very blessed by your ministry.
We will be praying for you and your family.
If there's anything you need, or just feel like talking, we are only a phone call away.
Shawn, Monica, Hannah & Halle

walters_shirley said...

Thinking of you, Karen and the girls. We pray
that God will continue to bless you and that He will provide the strength and comfort to see you throught this most difficult time.
Love and prayers, Winston & Shirley

Lenitte said...

John, You have always had a strength about you that you have shown even when we were kids that I don't think I have. That strength you have shown once again here. When we were growing up a lot of knew if we needed any advice, we would get it from the wise one,and honestly. You have devoted your life to doing this and have helped so many people through so many struggles and hard roads that they have had to walk down, holding their hand all the way.Let us hold your hand now.I am sure I speak for many when I say we will be praying for you, Karen and the children, to see you all through this rough time. Prayer is strong as we all know. I love you, Karen and the girls so much and will always be here to hold your hand.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,
We can honestly say we were shocked and hurt when we read your blog the other day. We immediately called Tim to see what he knew and he filled us in with some detail, but since then you have done a good job of giving the details yourself. My friend, our prayers are with you at this time and we will not forget Karen either. May God go with you during this stressful time for you and all those who love you.
Loch and Phyllis

Linda Mullaly said...

John,Karen and Girls,
The news of your illness John has been very difficult to hear. You are so loved by so many... please know that our prayers go out for you,and your family. Pat and I are following your journey and want you to know that we are here for you.

irene.saunders said...

Rev'd John,
You are a wonderful and caring person and always there for others and now its your turn for everyone to be there for you ..My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family has you travel through this journey .... I am following you as well through this and maybe you can give us some sense to all of this and answer the question that we all ask ....why do this happen , is there a reason , because at times i have a hard time trying to understand ...stay strong my friend !!!!

Anonymous said...

AS YOU WISH ......

Dottie said...

Father John,

It's hard to find the words to explain how I felt when I heard you were sick. I will keep following this blog and I will pray for you, Karen and your family as you all travel this road to recovery. Take care and know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong Father John....

Dottie & Terry

Tanya Mullaly said...

John, Karen, Girls and their partners,and Grandchildren,

Sometimes when we hear of news like yours we wonder about 'Gods' grand plan'. God does have a plan and we have to accept the challenges he puts into our lives knowing that he will walk beside us, and carry us, throughout the journey.

John, your blog is inspirational as has been your life. I remember sitting at the kitchen table one day after you had done a funeral with Dad, and hearing the story of your childhood and your journey to the Church. You 'give' so much to others and now it is time for you to draw strength from the love that all these people have for you.

Csaba(Chubba) and I are praying for you and your family during this challenging time. I have others in Australia that will pray for you as well. They are powerful prayers and have helped people I love through difficult times.

Do not be afraid as God will lead the way and see you through this.

Fight with all you have...do not give up.

Love,
Tanya Mullaly

Audrey Manning said...

Dear John, I am crying as I write because you are a person through whom Christian love shone like a beacon.

Whenever our paths crossed, I always felt that you were that rare person who understood.

I now ask "why" but because there are no other words that come to mind.

Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts. If there is anything I can do, if you need anything at all, please let me know.

Love to you all,
Audrey Manning

JUDITH ANNE SQUIRES said...

JOHN,,,I AM FINDING IT VERY DIFFICULT JUST NOW TO EXPRESS IN WORDS WHAT I AM FEELING IN MY HEART.PLEASE KNOW THAT ERIC AND I ARE PRAYING FOR YOU AND A COMPLETE RECOVERY..THE GREATEST HEALER EVER IS WITH YOU AND WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.I WOULD LIKE YOU SHARE WITH YOU THE *HIGHLIGHT* OF MY BATTLE WITH CANCER SEVEN YEARS AGO,,YES JOHN,I SAID HIGHLIGHT,,I LIKE MOST PEOPLE WHO IS TOLD THAT THEY HAVE A LIFE THREATING DECEASE,,,WENT THROUGH ALL THE STAGES,OF ANGER,DENIAL, NOT WANTING TO LET GO OF MY LIFE'S PARTENER,MY CHILDREN AND MY GRANDSON,AND MY FOUR DARLING LITTLE SHIH TZU..THEN EVERYTHING WAS IN A WORLD WIND.HOSPITAL APPOINTMENT,SURGERY,RADIATION,MY SKIN BURNT TO A BLISTER..THE DAY THEN ARRIVED WHEN I WOULD GET MY FINAL RESULTS!!!I CAN TRULY TELL YOU THAT I WAS NEVER MORE AT PEACE IN MY LIFE,BECAUSE A WEEK PROIR TO MY APPOINTMENT I CAME TO A FULL AND TOTAL REALIZATION THAT WHETHER I STAYED IN GOD'S KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH OR THAT I WAS BOUND FOR HIS HEAVENLY KINGOM IN HEAVEN,,I WAS GOING TO BE JUST FINE,,THE SWEETEST LESSON I HAVE EVER LEARNED,,AND TRUELY BELIEVED..OUR GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THEN CANCER..SO MY FRIEND,,ERIC AND I ARE ASKING GOD TO PLANT THAT SAME WONDERFUL MESSAGE IN YOUR AND OUR FAMILIES' HEART..WE LOVE YOU AND WILL PRAY DAILY FOR A COMPLETE RECOVERY...REV. JUDY

Hubert & Tryphena said...

Rev. John
We want you to know that our prayers are with you and your family at this time. Even though we have not kept in touch over the years, you are very special to us. We speak of you often as someone whom God sent into our lives to help us along on our journey. We are praying for a complete recovery. God Bless!
Love, Rev. Hubert and Tryphena

GAIL LUSH said...

Rev.John , May God BLESS ,YOU & Karen and your family during this difficult time .You are in our thoughts and prayers.Karen that was such a wonderful thing with the cards i recieve one this morning so everyday at noon Rev. John &your family will be in my prayers will be in my prayers God Bless.

jeandonrose said...

Rev.John,
Sorry to hear of your illness.My thoughts and
prayers are with you and your family as you
journey down this road of uncertainty and I'm
sure fear.You have inspired so many with your
messages of Love. May you feel the Love of God and of those who care about you. I will continue to pray to our Great Physician for your complete recovery.God Bless.
Love and Prayers
Jean

Anonymous said...

Rev John;

I am not sure what to say, but I do know that you are so dearly loved by so many people.
In the very shot time that I have known you I have learned very quickly why you are loved so much. It’s because of your love for people and you faith in God. This Faith and Love is what will carry you during this battle which you are now fighting but not alone and you will overcome. There are a lot of things I like to say but I can not find the words. You said one Sunday morning after one of the reading that it was would quiet the Legacy because of you that people start to follow the lord you were talking about John the Baptists I believe. I believe at St. Martins we have our have our own John, I do not know if there is anyone who as started because of you but there are many continuing to follow because of you. Not a bad Legacy. Thanks for all your Love and prays!! When you are will again maybe we can get together for a Little Guitar playing. Not much of a writher but I have no trouble saying I Love you , our prays and Love are with you, Karen and the Girls. See you soon.

lala6206 said...

John:
Hello, What to say to a friend, adopted brother , inspiration ,and great person. I love you I have faith in you and wish you peace. It is times like these that test us all. Why test you? I have no answer! This I know if anyone can take this journey ,you can , and if you need help we are here. This is a great way to continue your wonderful message.. Love LynnM

Cathy said...

Hi John,
I think you know me indirectly through Linda Mullaly.I have been praying for you and thank you for your prayers for us recently.This is the first I have read your blog and your words are very inspiring.I need that right about now as my son still isn't that well.It has been a rough experience.But everything is for a reason.I intend to read all of your blogs and will continue to pray for you and your family as you journey through this difficult time.Sincerely,Cathy connors lockman

wanda said...

Wanda Said:I'll never forget the way both you and your wife were there for me and my son Malcolm when he was in the Gander hospital. Your prayer's, kindness, faith and hospitality are the only thing's that helped us get through those hard times. We think of both of you as angel's in our life. I pray for you and your family everyday and ask our heavenly father to bestow merciful health and healing upon you. To bless your body with strength and your mind with wisdom. To fill you with hope, new joy and new peace of mind and heart. Take care and keep believing. Faith is wonderful medicine and alway's remember "YOU ARE NEVER ALONE! THE LORD IS ALWAY'S WITH YOU!