Let me tell you a little story.
About 2 ½ years ago, a few months after I started writing for WorldNetDaily, I wrote a column called Rednecks Vote which was more or less a rant about the snobbery against rural and small-town Americans by the mainstream media and the liberal elites. I found it objectionable when people assume rural folks are too stupid to participate in politics or have intelligent opinions.
I received an email from a gentleman named Bill who related the most extraordinary background. He was raised with wealth and privilege. Private schools, chartered trains (with private train stops), various huge estates… the world of luxury and affluence he described is light-years away from what any of us will ever witness or experience.
But the world of the wealthy elites didn’t appeal to him. When he was a young man, he left most of that behind and instead learned every practical skill he could. He far preferred to work with his hands.
He’s mentored a number of troubled teens over the years, both in person and via the internet. Some he’s watched go astray and then return to the fold. He had a strong Christian conversation a couple decades ago. He obviously has a heart as big as the state in which he lives.
Anyway, Bill and I became cyber friends. Over the years we’ve emailed back and forth, recounting various parts of our histories, cheering each other on, and generally being pals.
He’s inspired a column or two, and I’ve come to admire his rugged independence and fierce admiration for the blue-collar backbone workers of this country. I’ve become very fond of him. Is it possible to love a person you’ve never met? If so, that’s Bill.
Then a couple months ago, quite by accident, he let drop that he has cancer.
Cancer! Alarmed, I requested details so I could be specific in my prayers. He was embarrassed that he let slip his condition and in fact hadn’t realized he had mentioned anything at all – drugs will do that to a person – but then gave a verbal sigh and said maybe God wanted me to know.
So here’s the skinny: Bill has Stage 4 prostate cancer. It has metastasized to both his shoulders and several vertebrae, and he’s receiving radiation in those areas. He writes, “I'm not having a ‘brush’ with death. I'm definitely going to die in about a year. But I look fine, and -- for the most part -- feel fine except for drowsiness, and this damned shoulder.”
Since writing that, his condition has deteriorated. He most certainly doesn't feel "fine" anymore. I don't think he has a year left.
It’s always distressing to face the imminent loss of a friend. But Bill’s condition caught me broadside and I’ve found myself saddened in a way I never thought I’d be – considering I’ve never met him.
But he’s a stalwart soldier, Bill is. Presumably he’s come to terms with whatever God has in store for him, for he continues to be bright and cheerful in his emails.
I asked permission to post a prayer request on my blog. I figure my puny efforts may not be worth much, but multiplied by thousands of readers sending petitions to the Almighty, who knows what might happen? It’s probably too late to pray for recovery, but it’s never too late to pray for a lessening of pain and peace of mind.
But he refused. Gently, but he refused. Strong individualist that he is, he felt awkward accepting such a gesture.
And he fights on. He writes, “I’ve experienced a most amazing increase in my closeness to God such that I’m not afraid. It is precisely the same experience that your friend Cheryl describes in that half hour video you put up in your piece about her – which totally blew me away – that someone else could so clearly, and accurately describe what I had experienced without even knowing me.”
Typical of his generous nature, Bill is asking people to pray for Cheryl rather than him. “She has two kids and a husband who adores her, and need her,” he writes.
Bill admits it’s hard to ask for help. The rugged independence that has marked his life since he was old enough to leave home means sometimes holding out a hand can be difficult.
So I’m asking for him.
Bill needs some help right now. He’s sad and lonely. He's in pain and low in spirits. Being so far away, all I can do is reach out a cyber hand toward him. It seems such a frustratingly small thing to do, but it’s all I have.
It’s taken me months to convince him to let me post this prayer request. Now that he’s reached a stage where he’s letting me, I want to swamp him with love. Hear that? Swamp him.
So post. Everyone, please post something. I’d love to see a thousand comments for him to read. Be upbeat. Be cheerful. Be funny. Bill has a terrific sense of humor, so the odd and quirky and funny would raise his spirits and appeal to his humor.
Please. Pray for Bill.