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Frightful Thunderstorm Begins Father's Day Weekend

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God bless you.

There was something delightful and frightful about the severe

thunderstorm that started my Father's Day weekend Friday.

The delightful thing is that I love serenades of thunderstorm and the

rhapsodies that the rains play upon my roof and against my window pane.

I love the pretty pictures from the sparkling diamond-like droplets of

rain that drizzle down the window panes and windshields. I love those

super-sensational summer rains.

I love the smell of rain in the balmy air just before its drops pelt my face

and its torrents ripple down my nose, jaws and chin. I love the pulsation of the

pelting. It is stimulating and invigorating.

That was the delightful thing about the thunderstorms that rocked the

Chicago area on Friday.

But there are also something quite frightful about that same delightful

summer rain. My neighborhood experienced a 4.5-hour power outage. That was

the first blackout I had experienced since my Jan. 29 open-heart surgery to have

a heart pump implanted to give me the life-saving pumping power my defective

mitral valve and left ventricle could no longer provide for the proper circulation of

blood to keep me alive until I get my new heart.

Once that Jan. 29 surgery made me a battery-operated, bionic man outside

the house, and a house-current-powered man when I go to bed, a power outage

became one of my most dangerous enemies.

The bedside power console that keeps me alive when I sleep went out. So

did the bedside charger of the 2-hour batteries that enable me to enjoy mobility


and outside the house.

Not only did the improved battery lives provide me comfort and confidence.

My eight batteries could thus sustain me for almost three days, and we've never

been without power for tmore than a day in the 34 years that my wife Joyce and I

have lived in Hazel Crest. But even better was the fact the blackout lasted just four

and a half hours.

Thank you, Jesus. When we heard on the newscasts that other areas were

hit much harder, with high winds uprooting trees and destroying property, and

downing power lines that would leave homes without electricity "for several days,"

Joyce and I thanked God that we weren't so unfortunate.

The return of electricity to our home Friday evening was welcomed. Then on

Saturday, my middle daughter, Noelle, let her nine-year-old son Caleb, my

youngest grandson, spend the night with Joyce and me.

For whatever reason, Caleb and I had the best bonding time that we have

ever had during the many times that he has stayed overnight with Joyce and me.

On Saturday, we went to a small lake to watch people fish and allow Caleb to

throw stones into the water for the first time in his life and to se those rocks

cause the water to erupt in splashes. Then we went to the grocery store for me to

buy some fruit and medicine and for him to get some candy.

Joyce and I then took him to an ice cream shop to buy and eat ice cream

there. I had a cup of the soft-serve vanilla ice cream. He and Joyce had one-scoop

cones of strawberry. Then we went to a park when he ran around and played.

Before home, we stopped at a drive-in to get some chicken.

That chicken was the smallest and most over-cooked chicken we've ever

had anywhere. But we salvaged what was left of the day when Caleb and I stayed

up until 3:30 a.m. to watch movies on our home DVD player. He loved "Avatar" and

a replay of the Laker-Celtic NBA championship-deciding Game 7. Then we

watched half of a Star Wars episode before I demanded that both of us go to

bed at 3:30 a.m.

The highlight of our late-night movie-watching, however, occurred at 12:30

a.m., when Caleb gave me my very first "Happy Father's Day" greeting.

"Grandpa," he said.

"Huh," I said.

"I love you," he said.

I love you, too," I said.

Wow! What joy he gave me with that affirmation of fervent affection!

Then Sunday morning, Joyce us a breakfast of the best pancakes and

bacon that we had ever eaten. Afterward, Caleb and I kneeled for prayer in the

living room. What a most enjoyable Father's Day for me, spending much of it

with my grandson, Caleb!

Meantime, to all you other good, dedicated fathers and grandfathers of

the world, "Happy Father's Day."

God bless you.

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Hi Rev, What a wonderful love story! I could see you and your grandson in my mind's eye, just basking in the simple, but powerful joy of being together, which brought a smile to my face and a few tears in my eyes. Those are the types of moments that we endure all the other unpleasant stuff in order to experience. Even in the midst of the literal storm that temporarily knocked out the power that serves as your earthly temporary life line, God was at work being your eternal permanent life line. Congratulations also on your moving up in status on the waiting list for a new heart. I imagine that Joyce has the bags packed in anticipation of the phone call that we continue to believe God for, that will come. Praise be to God! Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: One of the things that is so poetic in your comment is "God was at work being your permanent life line." That brings me to, among other scriptures, "God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in the time of trouble." Each time you and my other prayer partners extend a word of comfort and encouragement, it's another example of God at work. Every time I experience a sunrise and a sunset, it's God at work. Every breath we take and every step we make is all possible because God has not laid down on His job of being God. HE remains large and in charge. He remains our God at work being, giving and doing all that we need to make it from day to day, from struggle to struggle, from victory to victory. All around us, God is so busy working for us, on us and through us. So our challenge and our responsibility is to keep the faith is God, because that is the basic way to please Him.

Hi Rev, I'm sitting here late on Friday evening catching up on email and online news when I was led to drop a few lines to you. I'm reminded of an old saying "No news is good news", which is often very true. So since you haven't blogged in a while, I take that as good news. (-: I'm also thinking about how difficult the wait must be for you and praying that your life is so active that you have very little time to dwell on that wait. I pray that the recent heat wave isn't having a bad affect on you and your health. I pray that you are enjoying your work and your family and your friends. I just wanted to remind you that your name gets spoken in prayer even if you can't hear it. Blessings to you always, Marie.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Marie, you are the Ave Maria of my blog. You are one of my ongoing, fervent, whispered prayers incarnate. Wherever you go, there goes a pray for me. Every evening, when you retire, a prayer for me goes to bed to rest while still offering quiet, soft, sweet supplication on my behalf. Every morning, when you arise, a prayer for me arises with you to thunder loud for my healing. Thank you for be a great, great friend indeed. When push comes to shove, I believe I can depend upon you. You describe my inactivity so well and in simplest detail. You kindly omitted one key element: laziness. Yes, I have been feeling good on the whole, with the small exception of a sore left hernia and sore lower back. But I breath well, I sleep well, I eat well, I rest well. And sometimes, I feel so good, as James Brown used to sing, "I want to jump back and kiss myself." Yes, I know I'm not fooling anybody, especially me. I still am a very sick man. I still have a very weak heart that needs to be replaced. I still, thanks to the heart pump, am on walking life-support. I am still trying hard to adjust to being tethered up 24-7. Oh that I were unchained from this drive line connecting the Heartmate II heart pump to batteries and AC house current. Oh that I could bath again. Oh that I could enjoy a sauna again. Oh that I could run again without worrying about some batteries flapping loose. Meantime, yes, I have to stay out of extreme heat. And as you know it has been hot. Please forgive me for being slow in updating my blog. But I will very, very soon to discuss the weighty wait that you mentioned in your comment. Thanks again and again and again.

He just keeps on showing us His Great Love for us. You have been so blessed to put in words so graciously the love of His rain, the love of baby Caleb, the love of Joyce and your daughters and other grands. My son was in town this past weekend to check up on me and I am doing well, just avoiding the heat(and you should too)and humidity. Besides you, and a couple of deacons at church, my son and grandson, I like to keep up with our president and those who mess around with him. It was announced yesterday that former vice president Cheney has a pump and it sounds pretty much like what you have. Please take care of yourself and stay in prayer.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Yes, Gwen, the heart pump implantation is no picnic. It is a highly risky procedure following by lots of rehab that is often painful and depressing. But, I'm alive, Gwen. I can still breathe in and out. I can still walk and wiggle my fingers and toes. I can still hear, see, smell, touch and taste. And I am of relative sound mind even though sometimes I act crazy because of a giddy joy. Day in and day out, I am rejoicing and thanking God because I'm still alive and able to move about. I drove to and from the Mayo Clinic, 365 miles from Chicago, with minimal problems. I drove to and from Kansas City, 520 miles one way, with no problems. I took advantage of the rest areas and that helped refuel me. Next month, my wife, Joyce, and I plan to drive from Chicago to Orlando, Fla., for vacation. I will be taking all my heart machinery with me on the back seat and floor of our car. We will stop over for a couple of nights each way. By the way, my wife retires this week. She is long overdue her rest and retirement. Now, we have to learn how to be poor all over again with a fixed income that is half of what we had been earning. But, we're still alive and in love with the Lord and each other.

Hi Rev,
No need to apologize about updating your blog. You are out and about living life to the best of your ability and that's exactly what you should be doing. I say that from a place of knowing, having spent many of the early years after my husband's stroke in a self-imposed exile of sort, focusing only on him. I neglected myself to an extent I'm ashamed to admit, but slowly and surely I've taken the life God gave me on this earth back and the word "giddy" is super expressive of how I feel most days. I also have my "lazy" days as you mentioned, but I don't really like that term so much any more. Folks like you and Joyce and Gwen and John and me and a whole bunch of others have a hard time being still because we see so much that we think needs to be done and since it appears no one else is doing it, we're used to jumping right in with both feet. BIG MISTAKE! Now we're learning that and when we take time to rest and relax and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us as He desires, the devil lies to us, implying that we are lazy and we are not. That demon is afraid of what the Lord will do through us and for us when we get our second (and third and fourth and fifth...)wind. Lazy folks don't go through life challenges like we've endured and remained around to testify about the goodness of God, the power of God, the love of God, the grace of God and all the rest that keeps us THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death, that wipes away last night's tears with a glorious morning joy, that provides for us as He does the sparrow, that leads us beside the still waters and restores our souls. Nope it isn't lazy, it's leaning on the Lord. It's being obedient to His word "Be still and know that I am God".
Your friend and sister in Christ, Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: How priestly, priceless and precious are these comments and I agree with every syllable they comprise, Marie. Surely, there is a better word than "lazy" to describe my occasional catching-my-breath mode. Your words rally me back to the realization that I have not given up the fight. Far from it. I remain the fiercest of warriors. But I also have seen the enemy and that enemy is not always somebody else. When we fail to feed, strengthen and exercise our faith in God, we fight against ourselves.We become our own worst enemy. Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pains we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. I was, nevertheless, being candid about my lack of full satisfaction in my progress and in the fulfillment of my Kingdom responsibilities. I have already inspired countless people in great struggles and I have many, many more to inspire. But I am not perfect. I am flawed in the flesh. My spirit indeed is willing. But my flesh is weak. I need to be inspired, too. I need to be as critical of myself as I am of others. I must rest my case on God's word and believe in it as much as possible. I must remember that God remains our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble. I must remember that with faith, ALL THINGS are possible. I must remember that I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me. I should strive more and more to make sure that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart are acceptable in God's sight, who is my strength and my redeemer. I must strive harder to bless the Lord with every breath possible. Most of all, I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day. For the night cometh when no man can work. I often think about my night and how it may be approaching faster than I think. Then I reflect on the fact that there are so many other strugglers who were younger, healthier and morally than I who have long since died. Some horribly. I thank and praise God for your energizing evangelism, Marie. I thank and praise God for your membership in the heavenly Kingdom's household of faith and priesthood of believers in God. I thank and praise God for your steadfastness in caring for your needful husband for years and years. I thank and praise God for your continued commitment to fight the good fight of faith. God bless you, Marie. May God bless you real, real good.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on June 20, 2010 5:13 PM.

Thank You Jesus! New 1B Status Moves Me Closer To New Heart. was the previous entry in this blog.

My Wife Is Finally Retiring And I'm Not Too Far Behind is the next entry in this blog.

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