Family and Friends,

You’re in for a treat today.  In my last post I spoke a bit about the FANTASTIC Two Years and Counting Celebration a few weeks ago.  Believe me when I tell you that I am still reliving that night in my memory.  While I enjoyed the entire evening, the star of the show was Daddy and message to the group of us there.  I have asked him to write out his message for you all to enjoy.

So, let me introduce you to one of my favourite people in the entire world, my Daddy, Harold Norman.

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Has anyone here ever had a ride on a helicopter? On one business trip in 1972, I had to get to Newark, New Jersey from New York City. It was suggested that I take the commuter helicopter from Idlewild to La Guardia Airport. I was taken by golf cart to the helicopter with several other passengers. It was quite large with twin rotors and seating for about 20 passengers. We lifted off and in a few minutes flew past the Statue of Liberty and landed on a pier at the foot of Wall Street. The next stop was on the top of a skyscraper, and then to Newark Airport. That same evening, I made the return trip to New York. The lights of New York City by a helicopter flying low and slowly is a sight I will never forget.

Does anyone know who we have to thank for the “modern” helicopter. I’ll give you a clue. Helicopters are nicknamed “Hewies” because of this man. His name is Howard Hughes. Before Howard Hughes started to play around with helicopters they were strictly novelties. They were very unreliable and of no commercial value. He was an engineering genius and soon solved many of their deficiencies. Howard Hughes was successful in a number of ventures besides aviation. He made billions of dollars in war contracts, he started TWA (Trans World Airlines), owned several hotels and even owned a movie studio. Perhaps his most famous endeavour was the “Spruce Goose”, an airplane built from plywood which resides in a museum (hangar) today in Seattle, Washington. He was on the “A” list of every society function, often arriving with the latest movie star from his movie studio draped on his arm. Leonardo de Caprio played Howard Hughes in his biographical movie, “The Aviator “ – an excellent movie.

Howard Hughes seemingly “had it all” and lived life “to the max”. However, a fear of germs, make that a paranoia, drove him to seclusion, and finally he became a recluse, living in a sterile environment with gowned and gloved nurses watching over both the dials and him. All these precautions were in vain and what is particularly sad and ironic is that there was nothing wrong with him and his immune system. He was a perfectly healthy man!

Perhaps if he had stayed in one of his hotel rooms and looked into the top drawer of the night table, he would have found a Gideon Bible. If he had opened that Bible to Matthew 6:27, he would have read, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” If he had turned to Psalm 139:16, he would have read, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your Book before one of them came to be.”

Howard Hughes died in 1976 an unhappy, pathetic, miserable man. He left no heir and no will. It took a decade to settle his estate with lawyers and the government taking most of it.

In contrast, Heather was diagnosed with CLL 13 years ago. Instead of becoming a recluse to avoid contact with germs that could potentially kill, she decided to delay chemotherapy, against her doctors’ advice, so she could finish her Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma at Sheridan College. She worked at several day care centres and nursery schools surrounded by children she loved. She married Jeff, a very special man, and blessed me with a wonderful grandson, Nathan. Interestingly, while she was pregnant, she was in the best health she has ever been, leading to Doctors writing her story in a medical journal. She also travelled frequently, usually on short term Missions Work.

Her life has been difficult at times with blood transfusions, chemo, infections, fatigue, hair loss, and many stays in hospital. On one of these hospital stays, I went to visit her. The staff gave me a gown, cap, mask, booties, and gloves to wear. This precaution did nothing to encourage me! I walked into her room and found her hooked up to more monitors and tubes than Christmas trees have tinsel. She tried to smile to ease my fears, but I could tell that she was not well at all. She told me in a very faint, strained voice to come closer and give her a hug and a kiss. I asked her if that was a wise thing to do in case I might pass on some germs. Without any hesitation, she told me that if she couldn’t hug and kiss the most important people in her life, that she might as well die right then.

On other visits to see her, I found her room decorated with all the promises of God and Bible verses from A to Z.

I believe that Heather personifies the Abundant Life that the Apostle Paul teaches. If there was one thing I would like us all to take away with us tonight, it s that we all need to fulfill our purpose in life by worshipping God wholeheartedly and serving Him and others with the time God gives us. As a young husband and father, I decided that I was going to take leadership in giving my family direction and training. I believe that I have been somewhat successful in this area, although there have been times that I feel they turned out well, not because of me, but in spite of me. In retrospect, I realize that I have learned some pretty amazing things from my family as well. I learned from my late wife Sharon how to die and I learned from Heather how to live. The life I’m talking about is not taking up time and space on this earth, but the Abundant Life that only God can provide when we submit to a heart transplant. If anyone has any questions about what I have shared with you, I would be glad to spend time with you before you go home or I m sure that Heather and Jeff would love to meet with you.

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Daddy, if you and Mom hadn’t taught me about jesus and taught me to build the foundation of my life on the truths of God’s word and who He is then the story of the last 13 years would look very different.  The story would have been marked with sadness, fear, bitterness and anger.  Instead, because you taught me to love Jesus and to believe in His promises my story is filled with joy and thanksgiving, mercy and compassion.  Thank you for the example you set for me then and continue to set for me today.

***

With ongoing joy,

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

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