Chicago Sun-Times
...with Jesus, doctors and common sense

Me, Dead? Not Yet? So Don't Believe Those Rumors.

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God bless you.

In case you haven't heard, I'm supposed to be dead.

At least, that was the rumor that emerged Wednesday and had one fellow minister, the Rev. Royce Cornelius, even calling the Chicago Sun-Times inquiring about "my death."

But my response to you all is the same that that great American Mark Twin once gave: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

In fact, I will be preaching for the 35th straight Good Friday at Cosmopolitan Community Church, 5249 South Wabash at roughly 1 p.m. If you want to make sure I'm not dead, please come hear me preach.

Albert Dickens, my longtime friend and the time-honored executive administrator of the Sun-Times sports department, called me on my cell phone Wednesday afternoon, while I was in Indianapolis interviewing members of the Indiana Pacers NBA team.

When I answered with my usual "God bless you", Albert said, "Thank you Jesus! I'm so glad to hear your voice. There's a nasty rumor around town saying you are dead."

Hey, that was news to me. But being a reporter, I felt the need to confirm this just as Albert did.

So I called Joyce, my wife of 50 years.

"Honey," I said. "Have you head the news? I'm dead, baby."

"But you just talked to me just a couple of hours ago, honey," she said. "How could you died so quickly and then turn around and call me so soon to let me know about it? You sure soon sound live to me, baby."

"Have I gotten any calls?" I asked.

"Well, Rev. (Gregory) Macon and Rev. (Henry) Hardy called, asking how they could get in touch with you," she said. "When I asked them if they wanted your cell number because I had just finished talking with you, they said 'No. Never mind." But they never said why they were calling. I guess they wanted to make sure you're not dead rather than upset me with hear-say."

Once again, sisters and brothers, in case you just tuned in: I'm not dead.

Not yet anyway.

I'm still No. 1 on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list for B-positive blood types.

My prostate is just a .19 PSA reading of being cancer-free.

My brain tumor remains benign.

I still have a pulse, thanks in part to my heart pump, an Heartmate II Left Ventricular Assist Device.

I just ate a pastrami on rye for lunch and I have a kosher hot dog and a slice of cherry pie standing by for dinner.

So, last time I checked, I was still alive.

I know the devil wants me dead. I've known that for years. I also know there are a few people who wish I was dead. And there are a lot of people who read my blog and wonder what's taking me so long to die.

Well, like all of you, I will die some day, somewhere, somehow. But I can't yet say when, where or how. We're all going to have to wait for our respective deaths. This is all up to God. Please don't rush Him, though. I may feel tired of living sometimes, and I'm ready to die because I', a born-again Christian. But I don't want to die yet and I thank God that He hasn't taken me yet. I have lots of unfinished business to tend to.

Right now, I'm back covering the Chicago Bulls and possibly their seventh
NBA championship. I've already covered the first six.

I also want to see my grandchildren grow up. I also want a new heart before I retire, but may have to retire first if it doesn't come by August 7, my 39th anniversary of working for this paper.

At age 67, I believe I'm the oldest reporter working for the Sun-Times. I also believe I am the only newspaper reporter working for a major newspaper with a heart pump.

Once again, for the benefit of you who have just changed channel and tuned us in, we are reading some words being written live by Lacy J. Banks, who was rumored Wednesday, April 20, to be dead.

Obviously, I'm not.

I'm glad my death is just a rumor.

Thank you, Jesus!

And I really don't mind people spreading a rumor that I'm dead. I'd simply like for them to let me know first rather than let me hear it from somebody else. Doesn't that sound fair to you?

Meantime, I'll see some of y'all Friday at Cosmopolitan--God willing. One thing for sure: I'm not going to die one second before I preach my last sermon.

God bless you.

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Dear Rev. Lacy,
Wow! I am so sorry I missed an opportunity to hear you preach on Good Friday. I missed it because I hadn’t checked your blog for a couple days. I have to say that the issue of you being falsely declared dead was interesting, for lack of a better word. May on I go on record and state that I knew you weren’t dead. After all, you wrote in a post some months ago that you’d tell us. Also, it would have been on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times. The only light hearted thing about this is that you are now officially a celebrity if someone out there thinks it’s amusing to tell people you are dead. I can’t recall the names now, but there are other celebrities who’ve also been the targets of such shenanigans and had to go public to refute the lies. Some people just have way too much time on their hands.
On the subject of folks wondering why you’re not dead, chalk that up to ignorance of God and His Power. I have to address this because I was recently reminded of the same thing regarding my husband, in a nice and sincere way. I ran into a spiritual sister I hadn’t seen in a while. We chatted and caught up for a few minutes, during which I mentioned it had been almost 10 years since the stroke that disabled him. She said something along the lines of there are folks who likely didn’t think he’d live that long. I smiled because she was right. I was also one of those people early on in the disability. To set the record straight, I wasn’t anticipating his demise, just initially confused that with everything wrong in his body and hearing the medical professionals’ prognoses, it didn’t look too promising that he’d hang in there this long. Of course, my faith kicked in and God demonstrated His power and control in our lives. Complete and conscious submission to the will of God brings about amazing things.
Lastly for now, I haven’t forgotten about you, keep you in my heart and prayers, and continue to believe that this “season” of uneventfulness is a blessing of physical and spiritual restoration in preparation for your heart transplant.
Your Sister in Christ, Marie

BANKS' RESPONSE: I am always encouraged, and often just flat-out thrilled by your generous comments. It looks like your husband and I are survivor kin. And the more I hear about others surviving from awesome afflictions, the more I am encouraged. I am blessed that my brain tumor was diagnosed as benign. I am blessed that my prostate cancer was early-staged, localized and responsive to radiation seeds treatment. I am blessed that my prostate cancer has been aggressive, progressive remission sufficient for me to be cleared by the Mayo Clinic to be placed on its heart transplant list. I am blessed that the mild stroke I suffered in December of 2009 was a temporary event that I survived with no residual paralysis. I am blessed that I survived the cardio-genic shock I suffered on Jan 11 of 2010, then survived two stints on life support and the open-heart surgery of having a heart pump implanted. I am blessed that I not only was allowed to continue working but was returned our paper's high-profile beat of covering the Bulls, a beat that I was hired to cover in 1972, more than 16 years before Derrick Rose was even born. God bless you, Marie, for your work as a missionary of encouragement to those of us who are vulnerable to spiritual, emotional and mental devastation.

God is Great, isn't He! I missed the rumor and so glad it was only that. As well as we understand that God has and knows His plan for us as well as the desires of our hearts, we still just want what we want, even as we yield to His almighty grace.
He promised He'd keep us and that's exactly what he;s doing. My love to the family.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Thanks, Gwen. Yes, God is great and greatly to be praised. You and I revel in His greatness. We are testimonies of His omnipotence. We are recipients of His invaluable love, grace and mercy. As negative as the rumor was, there are rumors that would be far worse. But, like you said, as long as such a rumor is just that, and a false one, too, then I can live with that. Right? Can't we all? It's just great to be alive with a reasonable portion of health and strength and the activities of our limbs.

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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 April 20, 2011 7:19 PM.

Some Of My Best Friends Are tears was the previous entry in this blog.

I Can't Get Too Tired Of Waiting For A New Heart is the next entry in this blog.

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