I’m in Winston-Salem, North Carolina tonight. I drove up today to visit my best friend Jim who had an amazing 19.5 hour surgery a week and a half ago. The surgery was to aggressively remove the cancer he was diagnosed with just over a year ago.

At our wedding last October, Jim had complained about feeling bloated, but I didn’t think much of it. Always the picture of health, I was floored when Jim called a week later and first said the word cancer.

Cancer.

I thought about that word as I drove from Birmingham to North Carolina today. I thought a lot about Jim.

Jim was a literal answer to prayer for me. Soon after my divorce, my counselor suggested that I practice being open, honest, and intimate with guys…that I needed to let people close and to practice being known “warts and all”. I wasn’t all that excited about the idea and quickly realized that I really didn’t have any good friends…especially following the divorce. I started praying for a godly friend. I even prayed that he would be single.

The next Sunday at Oak Mountain I noticed a guy who I had met five years earlier at the gym playing basketball. I re-introduced myself and we set up lunch later in the week. We discovered that we had tons in common…basketball, both divorced, our girls were a year apart, and our boys were 8 days apart. The following year we coached our sons’ baseball team together and had a blast. We wanted to provide structure for our boys as they grew into men and this later developed into our Epic Fathering group.

In February of 2005, since I wasn’t dating anyone and Jim wasn’t dating anyone, I joined him in gorgeous St. Kitts, West Indies for PLATO Learning’s President’s Club as his guest. (Yes we were teased mercilessly the entire 10 days.) The trip was an absolute blast. When Jim left PLATO to go with another company, I applied for and got his position.

Over this past year, I have watched Jim fight this disease with a focused strength and faith that has been an inspiration to me and hundreds of others. He has fought well through 10 rounds of chemo (and kept his great hair…jealous!), two surgeries on his lungs, and tonight we were even doing laps in the hallway a week and a half after undergoing his 19.5 hour ordeal here in North Carolina. The man is amazing and I can only hope I possess half the courage that he does when life throws me a curve ball.

One of Jim’s friends put together a video that contains quotes from Jim’s CaringBridge blog over the past year. The video is set to Matt Redman’s You Never Let Go, which has a powerful message…especially in light of Jim’s circumstances.

Please visit Jim’s CaringBridge site. Drop him a note and encourage him. But don’t be shocked if you are the one who leaves encouraged.

I know I have been.

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  • Marc Walton

    Tray, Great story of you and Jim! I remember coaching with you guys that year and it was alot of fun. I didn't know either of your situations, but enjoyed being around both of you. Love the story of being the "wife" at his President's Award! Hilarious! I would have ragged you too! Too funny! Thanks for sharing this and will keep Jim in my prayers brother!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/tlovvorn Traylor Lovvorn

      Will do, Marc! Thanks for praying, brother.

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