Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Vision for Millions

I’m seriously excited. For some time now I’ve known in my heart that if I was going to have to walk the path that I’ve been on, that I was meant to share my story and encourage others along the way. Not only have I had visions of thousands of people in large audiences listening to me speak with my new voice, but I’ve had others tell me they saw the same. One used the term “millions.” If you are deathly afraid of public speaking, that would be a death sentence. To my ears, that was the confirmation I had hoped for.

Moments before I posted my last blog entry, I added a last-minute link to my story on the USA Today website. Apparently, King5 News, who had just run my story, is owned by Gannett, the parent company for USA Today. What I didn’t mention was that I had received a phone call from a large ABC radio station in St. Louis, Missouri, the morning of June 18th. Mitch, the programming director for the station said that he had heard about my story and his radio team was interested in interviewing me live on the air the following week. I gladly scheduled a time for the following Tuesday, June 24th. After confirming the time, I thanked Mitch for his call and then he said, “Mr. Haase, I’m just curious… you do realize that you are the leading story on USA Today’s website right now, don’t you?”

I was stunned. “Uh… no… I’ll take a look… and, thank you again.”

Seriously? I jumped online and there it was… only I thought my web browser was having issues. My story was running in three different places on their homepage at the same time! Here is a screen shot:

It suddenly became clear. My friend’s words started to reverberate in my head. “Millions.” Literally millions heard my story in one day alone. I ran a Google search for “motivational speaker tongue” and saw that about two-dozen websites were carrying the story at the same time. How cool is that?

When Tuesday rolled around I was excited about the chance to do the interview with the two hosts, Martin Kilcoyne and Randi Naughton. It went well I think. I was a little apprehensive wondering what direction the two would take the conversation, but it went smoothly and I was incredibly thankful for the chance to encourage their listeners and remind them that regardless of what happens in this life, we need to look for the blessings because blessings are all around us. If you want to hear the interview, you can go here. (Just click on the little "play" triangle)

Since that day, I have had two churches ask me to come and share my story with their congregations, which is kind of mind-blowing. I think the best part is that my story isn’t about a particular “brand” or denomination of religion. I am so thankful for the prayers of so many of my supporters during this entire experience, and even more thankful that God gave me the grace to make it through the most difficult season in my life. My story is about God’s Grace and the unwavering strength He has given me amidst the storms I have had to face.  

People often make the statement that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” That is not what the Bible says. That verse people are referring to actually has to do with temptation. The truth is, He WILL give you more than you can handle. Handle alone, that is. What the Bible does say is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. THAT is in the Bible, and it is as fresh to me now as the day it was written.

Speaking of strength… I had a blood test checking my TSH levels last week in preparation for the appointment with my ecologist yesterday. The results came back and although my levels were low earlier this year, meaning my thyroid gland was pumping out hormones at a higher rate than normal, it started acting like the old incandescent bulbs that My last
My last seven TSH test results on a graph
seven TSH test results on a graph occasionally burned super bright right before they burned out. And that's what happened. My thyroid simply quit due to gland's unfortunate location which was dead-center in the path of my radiation treatments. The bad news is that I get to take hormone replacements every day for the rest of my life. The failure of my thyroid does explain why my energy has been down lately, so I’m looking forward to that reversing. The good news is that if we ever have a nuclear bomb go off, "radioactive iodine 131" won’t uptake into my thyroid and I’ll have a higher survival rate! Who knew? I’m smiling right now. Just looking for the silver lining.

Around 2:00am this morning, I received a text from a pastor friend of mine. It read, “My wife has been diagnosed with stage 2b triple negative breast cancer and it has spread to her lymph…” She’s a woman who eats well, exercises a lot, is a marathon runner and is incredibly healthy. As her husband, his world has been rocked and the foundation under his feet just gave out.  I told him I would pray fervently but he needed to know that sometimes it takes the ground dropping out before we are able to take flight and soar. Sounds like a cliché, but it is true.

When all we have expected to remain constant suddenly drops out from under us, looking up can be hard. It is so easy to take our lives for granted with a good job, solid marriage, money in the bank, a great reputation, success, the white picket fence… and then you hear the word “cancer”, and it all changes. Her cancer is a difficult one to fight. “Triple Negative" means that the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth are not present in the cancer tumor. That means normal treatments won’t work. That kind of news rocks your world, making you question everything. It starts a cascading flood of emotions and it allows fear to creep in.

I am praying for my friend and his wife and I hope you will join me. I want to see her healed and new again, but most importantly, I want her to remember that it doesn’t matter how you die, what truly matters is how you live. The choices you make each day, what you chose to make important, what you make a priority... those are the things that count.  This journey of life isn’t over until its over. What you make of it until then is up to you.

~Robert B. Haase,
A Blessed Man

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