Spence's Thread...Continued

Discussion in 'Your Religion & Spiritual Center' started by Henrysullivan, Nov 12, 2010.

ATTN: Our forums have moved here! You can still read these forums but if you'd like to participate, mosey on over to the new location.

  1. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    Yeah, when you keep repeating the same ones, it tends to show up as a patteren in your brain waves. Just wish I could get it the first time :)
  2. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member

    We live by
    God's promises
    not by
    His explantions
  3. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member

    God knows more
    about tomorrow
    than we
    know about yesterday
    trust him
  4. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    I like that one ~
  5. tm53

    tm53 New Member

    Hey Hank, any more?
  6. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    Yeah, I know you're looking at other avenues to join and I'll most likely be there soon. I do miss your dailies but now I'm starting to jones for them! I realize they are, mostly, religious in nature but they still affect a lot of my life's goings on. I can relate to many of them in one way or another. Miss you buddy!
  7. Linda1002

    Linda1002 New Member

    I read these gold nuggets, too. Thank you for posting them!
  8. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member

    Sorry, folks. I've been distracted. Thank you for your kind words here. I will resume...

    When you have
    an encounter
    with the living God
    you will never return
    to life as usual

    Through helping Spence, I truly believe God put has His mark on my life. Life has never been the same as it was before Spence got sick and came back into my life after a long absence. God is my protector. I know that God is there and that as long as I honor God's intentions, He will remain there. Life has never returned to life as usual.

    I had Spence's eulogy posted on the thread that was destroyed by the reset. Because some of you have not read it, and might take something from reading it, or reading it again, I will re-post it soon. So be on the lookout.

    Thank you again. You are some very kind people. Spence would love you all.
  9. Titus

    Titus New Member

    Hey Hank! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

    I also enjoy these gems from Spence.
  10. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member


    Spencer Alan Lee-July 21, 2009

    My name is Hank Sullivan. I had the privilege to grow up across the street from the Spence and his brothers. In August of 1959, when I was 4, to the best recollection a four year old mind can give a half century later, I was at the Lee home the day Margaret left for the hospital to deliver Spence. According to my recollection, as Mike and I were playing Margaret was escorted out of the kitchen door into the carport on her way to the car. Before she left, Mike, 3 ½ at the time, my friend of all these years, asked his mom if she would be weak when she got home from the hospital. That was evidently what his 3 ½ year old mind was concerned with. Now in fairness, there is a dispute over this. Mike doesn’t remember anything about it. That being the case, I attribute that my recollections of the incident resulted from the fact that at the time, and really ever since, my mind was 6 months more advanced than his was. But no matter who is correct, that is my earliest recollection of anything that had to do with Spence.

    In the next years and all these since, looking back, Spence as it turns out would become a most significant figure in my own spiritual development, my understanding of the meaning of life, my relationship to God, and I am not alone. From my life experience knowing Spence, there are lessons that are invaluable for others to know. For this reason I have chosen to speak today.

    Although, during his life in the natural, Spence would never understand the profound influences that his life would bring to those who would know him, our faith tells us that now, as he is home with Howard, and Margaret, and Jesus, and home with our Heavenly Father, Spence finally understands clearly the purpose God had him to serve in the lives of those God privileged to know him. We can know that finally, Spence has a clarity that none of us can know from where we presently stand, clarity to understand the value and impact he had among those of us who knew and loved him.

    Over the years, so many lessons Spence taught me. And he would never know, couldn’t know, and perhaps did not have the capacity to know. That was not because of any deficiency on his part, but because those lessons he taught me were intrinsic to him. He was those things, lived them from early childhood. So he would never understand having to be taught them as I did, as we do.

    From the outset, Spence was special. Those of us who grew up with him will remember; while year by year we seemed to mature measurably, in many ways Spence really did not. In many ways Spence remained behind everyone else. I’m not sure when I finally figured out that Spence had some special developmental problems; but it was always apparent that as we grew older, he remained very childlike. And as a child, as the weakest one of the bunch, unfortunately, during play I can remember he could easily end up very upset, and running back into the house. And there were times during which it was I who had been the reason he left play seemingly in anguish. But one day I can recall clearly, after Spence went running back into the house, something was different for me. That was the day Spence taught me that inflicting torment on another person was wrong, even as a child, it was wrong. That was the first lesson I can remember learning from Spence, one of many I would learn, one that he might never understand that he taught me, yet a profound lesson for me nonetheless.

    During my early teen years, Tim Hawkins and I would come over and play football with Spence. It was always Spence against Tim and me. Tim and I would take pleasure in in making Spence believe that he was the world’s greatest football player. As Spence would run with the ball as fast, or really as slow, as his legs could carry him, from one end of the Lee’s yard to the other, anyone watching, and who didn’t know otherwise, would marvel at what an incredibly gifted athlete Spence must have been, for these two older boys to bounce off of him as they did. We always kept it close, but each time Spence would emerge victorious. That would make Tim and me feel as good, or better, than Spence. That was fun. It was during this time that Spence helped to teach me that putting effort toward making others feel good has its own intrinsic rewards.

    Spence was living, breathing generosity, a trait of his that taught not only me, but all who came in contact with him a valuable lesson. I have never known anyone to be more giving of himself than Spence. And it was always that way. Here’s an example: Folks who were around this church at the time will remember these (hold up Bible). This is a Good News Bible. This is my mother’s. She tells me that when Spence was around 10 or so, one Sunday she had the occasion to visit his church with Margaret. It was during that time that these Bibles were new and one could buy one here at the church. Spence noticed that my mom did not have one of these Bibles. After the service, he asked Margaret to use his allowance to buy my mom a Good News Bible, which she did. This (holding up) is that Bible and it is a testimony of what a Christ-like giver Spence was practically from birth. Throughout his life, there would be nothing that he could possibly receive from anyone that would eclipse the feeling he would receive from being appreciated for something he did for someone else. Spence taught me and all who knew him the value of generosity.

    29 years ago, Spence, Mike and Richard were groomsmen in our wedding, the occasion that first allowed my wife Winde to get to know Spence. Over the years, no matter how long it might have been between visits, theirs became a special friendship, really, one that no one could come between. To Spence, Winde was always “Windelina.” And to Winde, Spence was always Big S.

    During the ‘80’s, Winde and I moved up to Cumming. And I am ashamed to say, we lost frequent touch with these wonderful folks, the Lee’s, Spence included, with whom I had grown up. There were times when it might be over a year or two between talks with any of the Lee boys or Margaret. But then came September 2007. One evening the phone rang and it was Mike. I had never heard Mike in such a voice. He informed me that Spence had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer and that the next day the surgeons at Emory were going to operate to try to remove it. Mike told me that there was a reasonable chance that Spence could die on the operating table. At that moment, the years that had passed seemed like seconds. For me, because our family and the Lees had always been so close and so stable, always just across the street from one another, all those memories of growing up with the Lee’s had remained vivid. But this was something new to add to those good memories, and very bad that it was happening to one of us, the one who was arguably least equipped to deal with it, Big S. All that time in between visits just seemed like it was wasted. Where had the time gone? We had seen Spence probably 3 or 4 times in the previous 10 years. And now, unexpectedly, he might be gone the next day. Where had the time gone?

    Fortunately, Spence made it through the surgery. Unfortunately, however, the tumor was beyond removing, meaning that without a miracle, Spence would not live long on this Earth. And here, once again, but this time through his suffering, Spence taught me more lessons. First, Spence taught me that your oldest friends are your best friends and that no matter what else happens in your life, you should always make time for your oldest and best friends. And secondly, Spence taught me that, thankfully, God always gives us a second chance. Here we were given a second chance with our old friend, Big S. And I’ll say this, we took advantage of it. The time that has since elapsed has been the best, most rewarding time in either Winde’s life or my own.

    Thinking that Spence’s life on Earth still might end at any time, Richard and Mike had the idea to take him to Disney in Orlando. Including my sister-in-law Caren, a practicing nurse, we all jumped at the opportunity, and we arranged for that to happen over Thanksgiving of 2007. It was a trip that we will always remember. And when it was over, we all returned home where Spence was to start chemotherapy.

    Mike, Caren and Spence at Disney, Thanksgiving 2007

    Spence’s chemo began in January 2008. During that time he was holding his own, maintaining a certain degree of strength as he recovered from his surgery. That being the case, Winde, Mike and I decided to schedule another ‘Make a Wish’ trip. We asked Spence where he wanted to go. This time Spence decided that he wanted to go somewhere he had always wanted to see, the place Spence referred to as ‘the Holy Land,’ meaning Graceland, Elvis’ mansion in Memphis, and this is the time during which certain magical coincidences commenced. Immediately after making the reservations to be in Memphis, I sat down to watch one of my favorite preachers, Joel Osteen, give his weekly message. I had just remarked to Winde that I sure would like to see his tour if it ever comes to town. At that moment the screen let me know that Joel Osteen’s tour would be in Memphis the very night I had just scheduled to arrive in Memphis five minutes earlier. Astonished at such a coincidence, I immediately bought tickets on line. So the night that we arrived in Memphis, Mike, Spence and I saw Joel Osteen live at the FedEx Center. But that’s not the magical part. The next day, after touring Graceland, while waiting in Elvis’ carport for our ride back across the street, Mike noticed a black SUV entourage parked behind us. As it turns out, Joel Osteen and his entire family was in Elvis’ mansion. Aided by one of Elvis’ employees, Mike and I went back inside and hung out in the jungle room until Joel, his family and body guards came up the stairs from the basement, where Mike and I introduced ourselves and had a nice conversation. Joel was very cordial, as was his group. So because we took Spence on his life’s dream pilgrimage to Graceland, my wish to merely see Joel’s service live was fulfilled by meeting Joel Osteen live in the home of the world’s most famous entertainer, in Elvis Presley’s jungle room.

    But the trips weren’t over and neither were the coincidences. Spence maintained his strength. In June 2008, on another trip to Disney, I told Mike that I had been watching these faith healings each night going on in Lakeland, which just happened to be only 30 miles from where we would be, again, another coincidence. So why not, we said. Spence needs healing, we got faith, why not go? Well, we learned why not, Spence wanted no part of it, and when we went to get him, he had practically chained himself to the bedpost. We were resigned that there was no making him go. That being the case, however, Winde, Mike and I went on our own. For several weeks, Mike had been having chest pain. A few weeks prior, Mike had been to the ER with it. The night before we went to Lakeland, the pain was so intense that Mike could not sleep. That night, inside a tent revival, while a prayer for healing was underway, heat came into Mike’s chest and neck, after which he would tell me, his chest pain went away completely, and has still never returned. So in this instance, I sincerely believe, in an effort to help Spence, we all learned firsthand that the faith of good Samaritans is sufficient for God to heal the sick.

    Winde learned the same lesson. During the time since we began helping Spence, as Spence’s health would decrease, coincidentally Winde’s would increased. At the time of our first trip, Winde was generally in the bed 2-3 days a week in pain. Other days, she would merely fight through it. Now, she has her life back, the pain has subsided to the extent that she has a normal life, unlike the years of pain she endured prior to learning of Spence’s illness. Winde’s experience confirms the lesson that in many ways the best way to help one’s self is to help someone else.

    Winde and Big S at Epcot

    On the way back from Florida on one of our trips, another miraculous coincidence occurred as Spence’s angels intervened again. Pulling our SUV behind our motor home, and traveling 65-70 MPH, just south of Cordele we came up on a monumental traffic jam. It was going nowhere. Something made me choose to get off I-75 and take an alternate route through downtown Cordele. While sitting perfectly still in rush hour traffic, the car in front of me inched forward. As I inched forward behind him, I heard an awful gut wrenching scraping noise. Looking in the rear camera, I was dumbfounded that our tow vehicle was completely separated from us. There was nothing whatsoever connecting our tow vehicle to the motor home, nothing! As it turns out, our 5000 lb. hitch had come unbolted on one side and severed completely off on the other, this as we sat perfectly still on flat ground. Had that occurred on I-75 at 65 to 70 mph, deaths would have been unavoidable and our lives would have been inextricably altered forever. That day, I have no doubt that Spence’s angels protected us and everyone around us from devastating consequences. It was impossible not to know that God had placed His eyes on us. So because of Spence, we learned another lesson, one that we are all perhaps taught, but one that might be difficult to confirm until it actually happens, the lesson that God will protect those who do His will on earth.

    Broken 5000 lb hitch that fell off the motorhome while we were perfectly still on level ground, the tow vehicle thus harming no one.

    As time went on, largely due to his discomfort, we discovered that Spence would enjoy the anticipation of a trip and the aftermath, talking about the trip, as much or more than the trip itself. So each time we would return from a trip, we would begin discussion for the next. Over these months, we went to Graceland, saw the Mississippi River, went to the Grand Ole Opry twice, Stone Mountain twice, Orlando four times, Cape Canaveral twice; we went to Tampa and saw the 2008 Outback Bowl from a luxury sky box; and we even got to see a space shuttle launch. But there was one trip left that we had not accomplished. Spence had always wanted to go on a cruise. With that in mind, Winde, told him to select the cruise he wanted to go on, and he did. Last month we went with Spence on a three night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. And as a bonus, as we were leaving Port Canaveral, coincidentally once again, God threw in a moon launch for us to watch from our balconies for free. Spence got his cruise. And in a note to his Uncle Bo, Spence thanked him for the funds that were used to take his “first” cruise indicating that Spence was planning many more.

    Space Shuttle Launch
    Winde and Spence at Grand Ole Opry
    Almost miraculously, Loretta Lynn, not our favorite, who was scheduled to appear that night was sick. So instead, Spence's favorite, Martina McBride, came on and sang several of her greatest hits. Here she is singing, 'Independence Day.'
    Winde and Spence on Disney Cruise
    Spence exercising his independence at Epcot
    Spence's view of 2009 Outback Bowl

    Most recently, God gave Spence the time and reasonable health and energy to go with us to the Georgia coast to visit his Uncle Bo and Aunt Hazel. During this time, Spence mustered the energy to sit up, visit, have dinner, to watch baseball with Cousin Skete and Mike, and walk around the place for a short time and enjoy the beauty of Marsh Oaks. It was a magical time that none of us will ever forget.
    Sunset at Marsh Oaks
    Sunset at Marsh Oaks

    Last Saturday, the day Spence died, family business took me out of town. I knew that there was a reasonable chance that Spence would die that day and I struggled whether I should leave. Mike encouraged me to go take care of business and I did. On the way, I found myself expecting that if Spence died while I was gone, somehow I would know it when it happened. I didn’t know whether a bird would come to land on my shoulder or what. I just expected to know it. That afternoon, as soon as our meeting was complete, I walked to my truck and dialed Winde, who was with everyone at the Hospice. Little did I know that at that moment, everyone in the room was gathered around the bed holding hands, knowing that the moment of Spence’s departure was imminent. I am told that at the precise moment Spence’s spirit rose, Winde’s phone rang. After taking the call, in tears, after a short delay, Winde answered saying, “He just died.” Even on his death bed, Spence taught me a lesson. He taught me that in our lives, God will fulfill every Godly expectation.

    So although during the last several years we had drifted apart from the folks who will always be our best friends, God graced us with a second chance, including the time to get it all in, every bit of it. And as a result, as a byproduct of our relationship with Spence, in the process of helping Spence to achieve his life goals, and in the process witnessing the greatness, goodness and wonders of God, Winde and I discovered salvation by the grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ, which is the greatest lesson anyone can teach.

    So now, we must all use Spence’s life as a spring board for our own, to become more like him, less like us, and more like Jesus Christ. The scriptures tell us that there is no redemption without the shedding of blood, without suffering. My lifelong experience knowing Spence, at least, makes me question whether that scripture should not only apply to our Savior, but also as general principle across all of humanity. Those close to him during this time have rarely seen any human suffer like Spence did. Let us not allow his suffering to go in vain. As Jesus Christ suffered to redeem mankind, remembering Spence’s suffering, let each us dedicate our lives to redemption, to square our debts with one another, help those who are needy, to live life as Christ has instructed us and as Spence’s memory reminds us. For only if we do that, will any of us be awarded the extreme privilege, by God’s grace, to once again embrace our brother Spence, and to live with him eternally, in God’s Kingdom.

    My buddy
  11. Titus

    Titus New Member

    That's beautiful, Hank.
  12. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member


    What you possess will one
    day belong to someone else
    What you are will be
    yours forever
  13. CarolineJ.

    CarolineJ. New Member

    Wow, love that one Hank.

    So true.
  14. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    and it's as it should be...
  15. tm53

    tm53 New Member

    You all done Hank?
  16. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    Yeah, are ya?
  17. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    Everbody's just enjoyed Spence and your writing so much and it seems like we never hear from you anymore - nothing like you used to do...miss you...
  18. Henrysullivan

    Henrysullivan New Member

    Hi Holly and others. I do check in each day. And several folks have received PMs from me. But you are right. I have not been posting like I used to. I think that is for two reasons. First of all, here in the spiritual corner, I always thought that this was an interesting place to converse concerning God and beliefs and faith and good and evil. It was interesting because the folks you would converse with were authentic. They were not here for an argument. They were drawn into the discussions because of their sincere beliefs and a universal need to explore them with others. But that all changed. This place became a place that drew in people who had an axe to grind with God, and who equated God's perfection with man's imperfection, claiming that God could not be Who we think He is because some preacher made off with somebody's wife.

    Annd then came the atheists, an ignorant lot, folks whose lack of spirituality made them the authority over the folks whose spirituality is the focal point in their lives. Atheists should not enter conversations about God. They have no standing in that discussion. And their presence is an insult to those who believe in God, and I expect an insult to God Himself.

    And so, Ray, with good reason, pulled the plug on the spiritual corner. I don't blame him. The likes of folks such as Barnyardbird, and some others, pasting daily insults to God and all who try to be Godly, was a corrupting influence that cast a shadow over any good that could come from otherwise respectful conversations. And so I do not blame Ray for doing what he did.

    And Holly, I always enjoyed discussing God and life's meaning with you and others. It just seems that when folks who do not believe in even a higher power believe it is their place to insert themselves into conversations that relate directly to the same, the conversation rapidly deteriorates. And that is no doubt by the design of the nonbeliever. So whereas this venue provides a wide cross section of interesting people and the conditions ripe for stimulating spiritual discussions, those who insert themselves into those discussions, holding no qualifying spiritual attributes themselves, only a need to insult folks who do, just make it impossible to hold meaningful spiritual discussions in a place like this. And so, for that reason I suppose, I do not post as much as I used to here. I don't have that much to say. I do offer prayers for folks who ask for them. And I greatly appreciate the kind words that some have offered toward me, and specifically their prayers. But this is not a place that can be used to explore our beliefs together. The folks who have no beliefs except a belief in themselves make it impossible.

    But I am still here. And I check in regularly. But even in health concerns, to keep my following enterage (sp) at bay, I normally PM anyone whom I think might benefit from anything I have to offer. But know that I am still here, and well, and plan to be here for the duration.

    Thanks for your concerns. I will try to get back on the beam with the theme of this thread next week.

  19. hollymm

    hollymm Me, 'in' a tree.

    It's so good to hear from you. I hope you didn't take tm53 and mine's comment to you in a negative way. You know my sense of humor and know I would never insult you. I just knew you'd get it. You do know me at least that well.

    I miss those conversations too. They allowed me to explore my feelings about God without criticism like I had to be a Christian to talk about him. I owe a lot of that to you. Some people are completely intolerant of others beliefs. You were always there with an answer and a question to ponder.

    I wish you the best Hank. You've got so much to give - and back it up with actions. You're a good man and you're gonna get where you're headed, I know it.

    I'm looking forward to more of Spence when you get the chance.
  20. tm53

    tm53 New Member

    Thx Hank, understood. Sad but I understand.

    Still miss the Spence post though. Don't think the debate team showed up there.

Share This Page