God bless you.
Today (Aug. 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm ready cry.
A tear from my right eye just beat the left to the drop.
To those of you who have been praying with me and for me since I started blogging my struggles with a cancerous brain tumor, cancer of my prostate and my being elevated to No. 1 on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list, you know somewhat what I'm talking about.
I'm blessed to be alive.
Blessed to be able to walk, although often with great difficulty, and to deal with a million dollars worth of advanced medical equipment implanted inside me and powered by batteries I wear and charge every 12 hours and by being cabled up to a bedside power console plugged into the AC wall socket of my bedroom.
Blessed to be able to speak for myself, feed myself, drink when I'm thirsty. drive a car, shower myself with special equipment. I'm blessed.
I'm blessed to have the best wife, the best daughters, the best son-in-law, the best sisters and brothers, the best mother-in-law and the best friends to help look after me.
Then there ministers like Rev. Jimmie Lee Banks, Rev. Clay Evans, Rev. Darrell Jackson, Rev. Henry Hardy, Rev. Leonard DeVille, Rev. Gregory Macon, Rev. Andre Allen, Rev. Gregory Macon, Evangelist Minnie Joe Evans and her pastor Rev. George Howse, Evangelist Beverly Rogers and her husband Wylie, Deacon Richard Nevels and his wife Rose, my Sun-Times bosses and co-workers and so many others looking after me.
What I'm trying to say is that I'm blessed by the mighty hand of our God' or grace and mercy, His resurrected and redeeming son, Jesus Christ, and their cast of thousands.
I'm blessed to still be working for the Sun-Times for my 39th year and to still be preaching and singing before congregations across the country.
I'm blessed to be in Springfield, Mass., right know to cover my very first Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, where five former Bulls, including former assistant coach Tex Winter, are being either inducted into the Hall of Fame or given various lifetime achievement awards.
Then there are great American giants from Chicago to include Lee B. Stern, Mike Ditka, Rocky Wirtz, Jerry Reinsdorf, Irwin Mandel, Dr. Valluvan Jevanandam, the late Irv Kupcinet, Rick Tellender, Mary Mitchell, Stella Foster, Mark Bartelstein, Dr. Michael Flaherty, Dr. Allen Aderson, Elinor Lowry, Steve Schanwald and so many other supporters and enablers.
Insert your name right here, too, because people like you all are my birthday presents and your prayers are flaming candles atop a cake of uncommon kindness.
I don't apologize to any doubters and pouters who felt I should have been dead three years ago. They wonder what's taking me so long to die. When I first started blogging this journey and real friends and supporters like John, Marie, Donna, Beverly, Marcia, Gwen, Tomas, Constance, Eugene and Alicia rallied around me prayerfully to bid me God's speed.
But there are others who expected and even wished that my serious health problems to result in a quick kill. i want you to know that even you play a valuable part in my life and I thank god for every one of my enemies and naysayers. After all, if there were no enemies, who would need a friend.
You enemies of mine have kept me praying, kept me singing and preaching, kept me humble, kept me inspired, kept me from getting too careless and too cocky. On behalf of all my supporters and me, in heaven and on earth, I want to thank all you enemies of mine and the rest of us for doing a fine job. Many of us would not have made it this far without your encouragement.
In case you just tuned in, today (Aug 11) is my 68th birthday and I'm celebrating by looking back over my life and by seeing so much that my God has done for me. He's never failed me, never has left me alone and he's always answered my prayers.
Oh if you only knew how many times I have prayed for the Sun-Times. I was occasionally called "nigger" and "stupid black SOB" when I joined the paper in 1972 as its first black sportswriter. But though I've had odds with these types of people, I forgave them, kept praying for them in particular and paper in general, and the Lord has sustained and delivered us through many dangers, toils and snares.
During my 39 years working for the Sun-Times, including going into the communities to give motivational speeches, my dearest friend albert Dickens and I have worked for 12 different sports editor and under seven different ownership, including a brief employment under Rupert Murdoch,
Many times, the Sun-Times had been counted out and doomed for failure. Twice the company even fired me and has bought out or laid off legions of the finest media professionals ever to work a daily newspaper. Then there are others who defected to seek vacational asylum at the Tribune and other media outlets, to unclude radio and televison,
The is my 68th birthday, and, God willing, my last year of working for one of the greatest newspapers in the world.
No need to wish me a happy birthday, because I'm already having one. Every birthday that finds me still alive, relatively healthy, sane and functional and enjoying life with my family is a happy one.
Yes, I'm still waiting for a new heart. The reason I haven't gotten one yet is the 22 months I've been on the transplant list is because it was not God's will. In due season, I will get what God wants to give me, when he wants to give it and however He wants to give it.
Any way all this shakes out is alright with me because my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground in sinking sand.
I'm praying for you all. Please pray for me, too.
God bless you