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God bless you.
A year ago today, after suffering a cardio genic shock that almost killed me, I underwent open-heart surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where chief cardiac surgeon, Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, implanted a heart pump to save my life and sustain me until I get a new heart.
It hasn't been fun living a tethered life.
By day, I'm powered by batteries whose electrical current is channeled by a system controller through a drive line that goes through my chest area into the Heartmate II, which does the pumping my diseased heart can no longer do sufficiently to keep me alive.
At night when I bed down, I change from the batteries, that are carried in a vest, to household current. To make that transition, I disconnect from the 18-inch-long cables connected to the batteries and reconnect to 15-foot-long cables drawing the power from a power console plugged into the wall to access AC current. Heaven helps me if there is a widespread, extended electrical blackout.
My batteries weigh roughly three pounds each and run for 12 hours before requiring recharged batteries. I've had to purchase huge shirts to wear over my medical machinery so that people don't mistake me for a terrorist because batteries are pretty much strapped to my sides. When you see me wearing the system controller and batteries, I can look rather armed and extremely dangerous.
I certainly have to conceal them especially when I board a plane.
The batteries afford me pretty much unlimited mobility, except for things like taking baths, swimming or sitting in a sauna, as long as they are charged. But the night cables restrict me to a range of 15 feet from my bed.
Yes, living a tethered life isn't fun. In fact, it is downright boring and frustrating. But it's better than the death I almost suffered.
I spent 30 days spitting time between three hospitals. I was placed on life support twice. And I remember clearly what I firmly believe was imminent death. I saw angels. No, not the kind normally depicted in human form, wearing wings and halos. Rather, what I saw looked like transparent dragonflies or small propeller-driven airplanes zoomed all around the room I was in.
I wondered why those around me weren't trying to shoo away these flying objects. I wanted to tell people around me what I was seeing. But I couldn't because I had a breathing tube stuffed down my throat. I experienced both feelings of fear and happiness. Fear that I was dying with extending proper goodbyes to my family and happiness because I would soon be seeing Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior.
Only after I fell into a coma did I cease seeing these "angels?" For or five days before I left the hospital last Feb. 5, I was so weak that I could not scoop down or up in my bed. Nurses had to come move me into a comfortable position. Sometimes, I'd have to push that emergency button again and again before anybody came to ease my discomfort.
I could not even sit up on my own. So, obviously, I could neither stand nor walk either. So whenever I had to use the toilet, I had to do so into a bedpan the nurses slip under me and I can think of nothing more uncomfortable.
Pain killer was my round-the-clock menu until I stopped hurting and realize I was too weak to move on my own or even feed myself.
I have been blessed to return to work and also to preach from time to time. And I'm talking about preaching with power.
Now, I'm waiting for a new heart. That isn't easy either because of the medicines, roughly 20 pills I still have to take, some with very irritating and painful side effects. The water pills frequently give me the gout, which I have suffered in every joint of my body. And the gout forces me to take indomethcin, a medication that is harmful to my kidneys.
Then there is my blood thinner that keeps my blood from clotting and causing me to have a potential deadly stroke. That medicine occasionally results in torrential nosebleeds and also results in blood in my stool. Now, Mayo has placed my candidacy on hold until I undergo a colonoscopy to rule out any emergence of colon cancer.
After suffering the agony of being diagnosed with a brain tumor and after enduring the pain of prostate cancer and radiation seeds implantation, the last thing I need is to be dismissed from the heart transplant list by colon cancer or any other serious health issue. I undergo the colonoscopy, an out-patient procedure, next week.
Yes, I'm blessed and glad to be alive and not in any significant, ongoing pain. From the very start, I placed everything in God's hands. I pray that His healing will be made manifest in my flawed flesh. I'm doing my best and trusting God for the rest. There is only much that I can do or control. But God has all power in His hand. And the bottom line and every Christian's prayer is that God's kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God bless you.



God bless you.
Today, Jan. 11, 2011, is the one-year anniversary of the day I was rushed to the hospital by para-medics and almost died.
It's good to remember the good and the bad of the past. It is said that if you can remember where you came from, there is no limit to where you can go.
It is also said that he who forgets the mistakes of his past is bound to repeat them.
One thing I don't want to ever repeat is that fateful Jan. 11, 2010. It started a 30-day hospital stay, during which I was revived by defibrillator paddles, placed on three-day life support twice . Then on Jan. 29, I had to undergo open-heart surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam implanted a heart pump (Heartmate II) to save my life and keep me alive until I can get new heart.
I have been on the Mayo Clinic's heart transplant list for 14 months now. During December, my hopes were high because I was the only patient classified 1A, the Mayo's highest classification, for one month because I am LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) recipient and have B-poisitive blood.
I was told there was a 75 percent chance that I would get a heart during that period. Unfortunately, none became available in Mayo's Midwest region. So I was returned to 1-B status, where only one patient is ahead of me.
The Mayo performed a heart transplant on a patient in mid-Decmber, just three weeks ago. But that patient was no B-positive blood type. So I couldn't have gotten it.
At the time I am writing this entry, at 11:00 a.m. today (Jan. 11 2011), it was the same time a year ago when I received a telephone call from Sheri Stokes, my benefits specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, telling me that as of Dec. 31, 2009, my health coverage and my 37-year employment at the Sun-Times had been terminated.
"What!" I responded. "Are you sure? This can't be because nobody has informed me of this or even told me this was scheduled to happen."
I knew the Sun-Times was laying off people. But it had not informed me that I was one of them.
Stokes assured me that she had been so informed. I told her I had to confirm this, as news reporters are conditioned to do in my trade, before I said or did anything else.
But after we ended the call, I was scared, frustrated, confused, pained and angry. I had been on the heart transplant list less that two month and am still fighting prostate cancer. So the worst news somebody in my position can get is that he, or she, instantly had no job and no affordable group health insurance coverage.
So I got on the telephone and frantically tried to reach somebody on my job to confirm what I had just been told. I called Albert Dickens, the sports department's executive assistant and records administrator. He said he knew nothing about this.
I called payroll and they assured me I was still getting paid and that my health insurance premium was also being paid out of my paychecks.
I called my boss, Chris DeLuca, the people in Sun-Times Human Resources, Jeannie Smyers and Barbara Ercoli, my union reps Bob Mazzoni and Misha Davenport and none of them were in.
Then before I could call anybody else, I started suffering chest pains and shortness of breath.
"How can this all happened like this," I thought. "Here I am on the heart transplant list and fighting prostate cancer and I've lost my job and my health insurance."
So I called my wife, Joyce, at work, and told her what I had heard, how I had been trying to confirm it and how I suddenly felt chest pains and shortness of breath. I was familiar with shortness of breath because I was an end-stage congestion heart failure patient. That's one of the primary symptoms and I been rushed to the hospital before to receive diuretics through I-V, so that I could urinate to release the excess fluids that had backed up into my lungs and were causing me to drown in slow motion,
But the chest pains commanded greater concern because I had never suffered a heart attack. So the para-medic came to my house, helped me into the ambulance and rushed me to South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest. When I got there, my heart was pumping at the speed of 155 a minutes and rising. They had to put me under and use defibrillator paddles to revive me and stabilize my heart rhythm.
That evening, I was transferred to Northwestern hospital, where I stayed and received treatment for two weeks to determine whether I needed a heart pump or a new heart first. After they told me that if they performed either, I would have to instantly retire, never drive again and have a caregiver with me around the clock, I call the UCMC, where Dr. Jeevanandam had performed a triple bypass on me on Feb. 14, 2001.
When the UCMC assured me that, after recovery, I could eventually work again, drive again and not require a caretaker to be with me 24/7, I chose to have the UCMC continue my care. Because of my prostate cancer, which was in remission, the UCMC said it could not consider me to be a heart transplant candidate on their list until I had been cancer-free for five years.
What they could offer me was an LVAD, which I needed desperately, given the uncertainty of heart transplant availability. So I received the heart pump on Jan. 29 and I was released from the hospital on Feb. 10, 2010.
In November of last year, the Mayo Clinic concluded that because they felt my prostate cancer was in sufficient remission, and that since my brain tumor had been declared benign, I qualified for their heart transplant list and they placed me on it.
Since then, I have been waiting to get a new heart, to change my insurance coverage to Medicare being a primary carrier and to start getting my pension, which has been hostage by the government for seven months after the government took over the plan because our paper was in bankruptcy.
I want to retire as soon as possible. I was hoping to retire two months ago. But that was because I had hoped to receive my new heart and my pension by that time. I would have been in perfect condition to do so. But that has not been the case.
In my condition, for me to lose my job, my group health insurance coverage and still be without my pension, would amount to a death sentence. I could endure these other problems if I were healthy. Clearly, I am not. This is a well-documented fact.
Yes, today is an anniversary of agony and anguish. But thank God, that that Jan. 11 false news did not kill me and I was assured by the Sun-Times that it was false before I was released from the hospital.
To this day, nobody wants to claim responsibility for that misinformation. I have my suspicions, I have lawyers helping me sort this out and we have some evidence to justify make charges. But that is not my present priority.
Most of all, I thank God that I'm still here. I'm alive and reasonably functional to continue working, though at a slower pace and reduced load.
Thank you, Jesus, for sustaining me.
And thank you readers for your continued prayers.
God bless you.


God bless you.

This Christmas, we celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ by giving money

to the church, to charities and individuals, by decorating a record three Christmas

trees in our home with thousands of light, including 1,000 LED white and blue

lights alone on the largest tree in the family room and a gaggle of presents under

the tree to exchange between our children and their children.

We sang and prayed before the kids opened their gifts. But by that time, my

wife Joyce and I knew that the most precious physical present we all, including

you, were hoping I'd receive was neither under the my figurative tree. There was

no new heart for me under my Christmas tree. So, I'll just keep on waiting and

praying.

On Nov. 16, after I had been elevated to No. 1 on the Mayo Clinic's heart

transplant list for B-positive blood types with big chests, I was told the chances

were around 70 percent that I would get a new heart by the end of the year.

After all, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where I am being treated,

had been averaging two heart transplant operations a month this year. So I felt

the numbers were in my favor to get a new heart sooner than later.

Unfortunately, the Mayo had limited my No. 1 status in the 1-A group to 30

days for two reasons. First, their policy guaranteed me that because my heart

was being sustained by a heart pump, technically described as a Heartmate II

Left-Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). Second, the Mayo rotates that 1-A status

between other LVAD patients suffering end-stage congestion heart failure just as

I am.

Although I badly need a new heart because it is my best chance for

long-term survival since my heart would be pumping at roughly 10 percent

efficiency without the pump, I am not in as dire straits as other patients with

failing hearts.

"If you were in worse health, you would remain at the top of the 1-A list," Jody

Hanson, the nurse case manager representing the cardiac surgeons and

cardiologists treating me in Rochester, "But you have been responding to the

pump exceptionally well. You are in much better shape than most LVAD patients

who are suffering end-stage congestive heart failure. So we have returned you

to the 1-B status where there is only one patient ahead of you."

In other words, in the last couple of weeks, I was dropped from being first

among those classified 1-A to second among those classified 1-B because that

other 1-B patient has been on the list longer.

"If your condition were to worsen, say, because of a pump malfunction,

your situation would be more urgent and you would be returned to the top of the

list," Hanson said.

But, until my condition worsens, other heart patients in worst shape with get

the 1-A classification. But when the next two hearts for B-positive blood types

become available, and there is no similar patient classified 1-A, then those hearts

will go to my current cardiac colleague and me.

Yes, I'm disappointed. When I was first placed on the Mayo Clinic's heart

transplant list on Nov. 15, 2009, I was told I should be getting a new heart within

months because of my rarer blood type. Unfortunately, I suffered a cadio-genic

on Jan. 11 that resulted in me spending 30 straight days in three different hospitals.

When I underwent open-heart surgery on Jan. 20 to have the heart pump

implanted to save my life, that assured me of not being eligible for another

open-heart surgery until I had spent three more months recovering from the

LVAD operation.

Obviously, My chances of receiving a new heart are still high since, as

of Christmas, there was only on patient ahead of me.

Joyce and I recently spent two weeks in Rochester, Minn., so that if a heart became

available I would be easily accessible. It was a boring stay plagued by a 17-inch

snowfall that resulted in me being stuck in the snow twice while going out to get some

food. But the most enjoyable part of a stay was my opportunity to sing Christmas

carols and other songs in the Mayo Clinic's giant atrium at the subway level. Jane Belau

was my pianist. She plays there every Monday and Thursday as part of her many

community service activities. I also joined some regulars who are Mayo employees, who

love to sing and who normally joins Belau to contribute beautiful music that also makes

for powerful medicine for all of us who are there, from all over the world, to receive

treatment for our assorted health challenges.


It would have been nice to celebrate Christmas with a new heart, which

is what we prayed for. But I'm still having a merry Christmas. Once again, my baby

daughter, Natasha Banks, flew up from Atlanta; My middle daughter Noelle came

over with her son. Caleb. And my oldest daughter, Nicole Chapman, came over

with her husband, Larry, and their children Lauren, David, Timothy and Nina.

We had a beautiful time celebrating during the day. Then at night, Joyce,

Natasha and I watched "It's A Wonderful Life," together, because that's my

favorite Christmas movie and because Natasha said she had never really seen

it before.

I warned Joyce and Natasha beforehand that I would cry at least four or

five times and to not make fun of me. Really. I've seen that movie maybe 100

times now, in black-and-white and in color, and I can't help but cry at the peak

scenes of sadness and gladness. Since no other movie moves me so deeply so

consistently, I guess I'd have to call "It's A Wonderful Life" my favorite movie of

all time.

Oh, I love "Gone With The Wind," "The 10 Commandments," "The

Greatest Story Ever Told," "Star Wars," "The Godfather," "Bladerunner,"

"Gadiator," "Raiders of the Lost Art," "Schindler's List," "Les Uns Et Les Autres,"

"Scarface," "Casablanca," "Lost Horizon" and so many, many more. But "It's

A Wonderful Life" is my favorite. And when I think of my life, my ups and downs,

on the whole, I can't complaint. Mine is not a perfect life, neither the worst nor

the best. But, thank God, it is a wonderful life.

God bless you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Faith In God is Lightening The Weight of Waiting

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God bless you,

Every time our phones ring, whether it is our cells phones or home phone,

my wife Joyce and I jump, look at each other and eagerly answer.

We are waiting, most of all, for the call that tells me, "Lacy, we believe we

have found the right heart to replace your failing one. Please report to the

operating table at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., within four hours."

It's been 23 days since I was placed at the top of the heart transplant

list at the Mayo Clinic. The heart must match my body size and B-positive blood

type. So our lives have been simplified and distilled down to the bare basic of

waiting for this earth's most precious physical gift: a healthy heart.

Prior to now, we'd often not answer the phone if we were busy or just

didn't want to be bothered. If the call was important, the caller would leave a message

that we'd eventually listen to and decide whether to respond.

But until I get a heart transplant, we can't neglect any phone call because it just

might be THE CALL.

So, I'm still waiting. If not for my faith in God, this wait would be the heaviest

of waits. But my faith in God has relieved me of the weary weight of worrying,

wondering and wishing. I am at peace with God. I learned long ago to pray that

God's kingdom come and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Whatever the outcome, I will let you

know. Meantime, I'm waiting. We have already enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving

and we are prepared to celebrate Jesus' birthday and and enjoy a merry

Christmas, which we wish to all of you. Our Christmas tree is all aglow with blue

and white LED lights. I am praying to receive a new heart for Christmas, which

would be the most precious present I could receive. Nevertheless, we will have

a merry Christmas not because of the gift of a new heart, but because of the gift

God gave man in the form of his only begotten Son, Jesus.

God bless you.

God bless you.

Lean over and tell somebody near you, "Lacy Banks told me to tell you

that God is still in the blessing business."

Sisters and brothers, as of yesterday (Nov. 16, 2010), The Mayo Clinic's

main unit, in Rochester, Minn., has elevated me to the very top of their heart

transplant list.

I am now in the 1A classification, the clinic's highest, with nobody ahead of

me for B-positive blood types.

If I get my healthier heart within the next month, I want to retire within the

following six weeks. This is half the time normally accorded for heart

transplantation recovery. But it will give me time to have the operation covered by

a major insurance carriers as primary provider and Medicare as secondary, thus

sparing my wife and me exorbitant out-of-pockets expenses. It would also provide

valuable time to make the transition to Medicare as primary provider and find the

best Medicare supplement.

At age 67, I believe I am the oldest reporter at the paper. I have been

working for the Sun-Times for 38 years and two and a half months. I'm tired

children. Joyce, my wife of 42 years and girlfriend for 49, has already returned

at age 65. And she makes me sick being able to chill whenever she wants to.

I want to get me new heart, retire, preach God's word better than ever and enjoy

some retirement. My mama died at 42 and never got to retire. My father died at

64, after pastoring for 50 years. He never retired and we never had health

insurance and we had to pass the hat to help bury him. My father-in-law also died

at age 64 just months after he had retired. I pray to do better for my family.

When a heart becomes available in the Mayo Clinic's midwest region of

Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, I will be its first recipient if the heart is for

my blood type and body size. If a heart, within my blood type and body size,

becomes available within 500 miles of Rochester, to include Chicago, St. Louis,

Kansas City, Etc., I would also qualify for it after the first regional option has been

exhausted and if I am the leading candidate within 500 miles..

According to Jody Hanson, my heart transplant coordinator of the clinic,

there is "a very strong possibility," some rank it as high at 70 percent, that I will

receive my new heart within a month.

Because I am being sustained by a heart pump, or Heartmate II LVAD (left-

ventricular assist device), and because I am 385 miles away from Rochester and

not an in-patient in Rochester, I am being accorded this privileged rank through

the month of December.

Joyce and I already have our bags pack and a choice or two air

ambulances and two private jets on standby alert to fly us to Rochester within

the four hours they want me to be on the operating table once they locate a

heart for me.

In the spring of this year, I had all along hoped to retire no later than the end

of next month because I was hoping to have had my new heart by now.

Unfortunately, I had suffered a critical setback. False information in a Jan. 11 phone

call from Sheri Stokes, Blue Cross Blue Shield, telling me that my Sun-Times

employment and health insurance coverage had been terminated, excited me into

a heart attack (more specifically, a cardio-genic shock) as I desperately called

Jeannie Smyers, Barbara Ercoli, my union reps, my sports editor and others at the

paper trying to confirm the devastating news.

By the time I was assured, by Jeannie and Barbara, that this was false

information, I had spent 30 days in the hospital--rotating between South Suburban

Hospital, Northwestern Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center--

trying to save my life. I was placed on three-day life support twice before I

underwent open-heart surgery to have the heart pump implanted by Dr. Valluvan

Jeevanandam on Jan. 29 at the UCMC.

I resumed work for the Chicago Sun-Times on April 5.

I appreciate the patience and generous cooperation by the Sun-Times in

helping ease the load during this period of my grave health issues. I know that the

paper has been laying off employees younger and more talented. I am presently

conversing with human resources and union insurance reps to lay the foundation

for my retirement and transition in insurance coverage.


It's been 31 months since Dr. Valluvan Jeevanandam, University of Chicago

Medical Center chief cardiac surgeon, and Dr. Allen Anderson, UCMC's ace

cardiologist, diagnosed me for end-stage congestive heart failure and told me I

needed a heart transplant to live longer than three or four years.

But in the process of examining to make sure I was healthy enough to risk

being given somebody else's precious heart, I was disqualified when they

discovered a cancerous brain tumor on my brain and a cancerous prostate tumor.

During these last 31 months, after God blessed me to be examined and

treated by 97 different doctors at eight different hospitals in three different states,

my brain tumor and prostate cancer have been brought under control, I have been

implanted with a heart pump and I have rallied from being refused admittance to

the national heart transplant list to rising to the very top of it.

Thank you, Jesus!

In the Mayo Clinic's midwest region, that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin

and the Dakotas, NOBODY is ahead of me among B-positive blood types. If a

heart becomes available in a more remote region during this period, then I will be

eligible to receive that heart, too, so long as it is a B-positive blood-type heart.

Each year some 800,000 patients around the world need a heart transplant.

Only 3,500 receive them.

Some 4,000 Americans need a heart transplant each year. Less than 2,000

get them. At Mayo Clinic, 97.7 percent of heart transplant recipients survive at least

one month, 94.85 survive at least one year, 80 percent survive three years and 75

percent survive at least five years.

As I told y'all before, I feel guilty and unworthy knowing somebody has to die

for me to get his or her heart. Then I calm down and think scientific progress. Death

has always been inevitable with us humans. But God has blessed medical science

to acquire the skill to salvage organs from dead donors and transplant them to save

the lives of others.

My wife, Joyce, my family, friends, Sun-Times staff and you readers have

been most comforting and encouraging to me. Thank you. More than 1,000

comments have been submitted to my blog (http://blogs.suntimes.com/banks/),

where I have been keeping you informed of my situation.

Once I am told a heart is available, I must be on the operating table in

Rochester in four hours. Joyce and I already have our bags packed and four

different air ambulances and private charter planes are ready to transport me.

Regardless of the outcome, I will inform you myself.

"Yeah, but how is Lacy Banks going to keep us informed if he is dead?",

well you just relax and let me assure you that while we're all trying to figure it out,

God has already worked it out.

God bless you.

God Bless you.
I don't deserve your heart.
I need it desperately and, thanks to the Mayo Clinic, I am on the national list for a heart transplant.
Doctors say my best chance for long-term survival from my end-stage congestive heart failure is a new heart.
Naturally, I want to live just like any other normal person. I like life. And, most times, life appears to like me. We get alone pretty well.
I love praising God, preaching His word, helping to save sinners, listening to religion music and seeing endearing religious movies.
I love breathing in and out. I love walking and talking. I love loving and being loved. I love being able to feel things, both pain and pleasure. I love being able to smell wonderful fragrances. I love the sight of beautiful things. I love the sound of wonderful music--especially classical music.
I love the cuisines of the world. I am at home with chicken tikii massala from India, enchiladas from Mexico, shrimp and vegetable tempura from Japan, almost anything Chinese. I love pasta, soul food and, really at least one plate from just about every major culture under the sun.
Obviously, because one must be alive to enjoy these things, I thus love living.
But in order for me to enjoy much more of this, baring any non-heart tragedy, I need a heart. It would be nice if medical science had progressed to the point where an affordable, efficient, durable, reliable, mechanical heart had been perfected and could supply every patient who needed a new heart.
But until that day comes, and I pray it comes soon, real soon, I need a human heart.
I can't be choosy about whose heart I get. I can't demand that that heart come from a black man, a white man, a woman, a man, boy, girl, American, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Russian, Greek, Democrat, Republican, Baptist, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, atheist or whoever, wherever, whenever and however.
In other words, that heart, given the wrong and right circumstance, could come from you. And I feel very, very guilty about that because I don't deserve your heart. I really don't. God gave you a heart and God gave me a heart and God gave every human being a heart. And it's not your fault or anybody else's fault that heart has given out and become so severely damaged that it needs to be replaced.
But God also has blessed us, and our medical scientists, to be able to transfer a beating heart from a dying or dead host to a living one to save the new host's life
What obviously bugs me first and foremost, is the raw reality ithat if I am to get a human heart, then a human being will have to die. And I can't get next to that. I don't deserve your heart. If something unfortunate took my life and my heart could save your, I'd welcome that. But my heart is not the kind of heart that is eligible to be transplant into somebody else. It's not even operating on its own any longer. An implanted heart pump is doing the pumping necessary to keep me alive.
I don't deserve your heart.
I don't deserve it.
I don't deserve your heart or anybody else's heart.
I haven't earned it.
I couldn't pay for it.
I could never work hard enough and long enough to get enough money to even make a poor down payment on a down payment to even touch your most precious heart.
But this is what modern life has become. This is where modern science has brought us. We can now swap kidneys, lungs, livers, eyes, noses, ears and so many other body parts.
So I thank God that you and I are living in this brave, new age. And when I study this issue deeply, it is simply a translation of the miracle of spiritual salvation that Jesus has made possible.
After all, Jesus came to give His life so that you and I might have life and that more abundant.
Jesus came to bleed in our place. He came to be wounded and bruised for us. He came to be humiliated for us.
Jesus came to take the wrap for all out sins, all our crimes, all our misdeeds, all my weaknesses, all our errors, all our evils, all our inadequacies and whatever else separates us from moral perfection and eternal life.
Jesus came, suffered, bled and died and then arose from the grave on Easter Sunday with all power given unto Him in heaven and in earth so that if , in due season, you and I die before the rapture we , shall live again and again and again forever and ever and ever and evermore.
If I get this heart, I am somewhat relieved that I am not robbing anybody. If I get that heart that I need to save my life, I will actually be getting that heart from the Lord, the Supreme Maker and Keeper of all hearts.
If may come OUT of the body of another human being. But it will come FROM Lord.
That's why ,from henceforth and forevermore, children, I will continue to lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. And in case anybody just tuned in, my help cometh from the Lord.
Just like every breath I breathe cometh, every sunrise cometh, every sunset cometh, every article of clothing cometh, every crumb for bread cometh, every drink of water cometh, whatever I need to make it from Point A to Point B, it cometh from the Lord of hosts.
Praise the Lord!!!
Hallelujah!!!!!
Thank you Jesus!!!!!
God bless you.

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

around

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.


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.

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