Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Short, Happy Life of a Beloved Pastor
Anyone who ever hung around Allen Landry knew he loved to have a good time. A fun guy, he could easily be the life of the party. He loved people, he loved dancing, and he loved to laugh.
There was something else he loved – the Word of God.
Allen Landry was an assistant pastor at Crenshaw Christian Center up until his death last October.
But, apparently, there was something lurking in Allen’s body that he wasn’t aware of. Right up until the time of his diagnosis in 2005 he didn’t know he was dying.
His wife, Julie Landry, recounts his life – and death – in her book, In Sickness and in Health: How to Keep Going When Death Interrupts Life (Vision Publishing, $9.99, EAN 978-0-9762730-6-6). The book can be ordered at your favorite bookstore.
Allen began experiencing intense back pain while on assignment as pastor at Crenshaw Christian Center East, the New York version of the huge Los Angeles church founded by Dr. Frederick K.C. Price.
Nothing seemed to give him relief.
Months later, having transferred back home to Los Angeles, he sought advice from his doctor. A blood test indicated the problem was his prostate. Then, a biopsy confirmed that a bigger problem was cancer.
Worse, the exam indicated the cancer was Stage 4, the highest level. Doctors gave Allen no hope that either chemotherapy or radiation would help. Instead, they projected that he had only six to eight months to live.
“…When we were alone, we discussed the findings …. I told Allen he could not die on me. In fact, I made him promise that he was not going to die, and then I just ‘blew it.’ I broke down right there. Panic and fear began to take over, and Allen had to keep reassuring me that he was going to be all right. I spent the night in the hospital with him, but it was the worst night of my life. I got no sleep at all. I heard every breath Allen took, fearful that each one might be his last. I kept thinking he was going to die right there.”
Allen was determined to fight the condition, using the Word of God and natural remedies. He tried to continue his duties as pastor, but because of the pain he was forced to give up working after about two months.
Julie admits to having been thoroughly spoiled during their almost thirty-five years of marriage. “I was a kept woman, and I loved it,” she writes.
Allen was romantic, confident, thoughtful, giving, and a good provider. The couple proved to be an excellent complement to each other. He offered strong encouragement in whatever pursuits Julie undertook, even when she tried to learn belly-dancing.
He offered the same encouragement to their son, Aaron, an aspiring professional golfer. To further support Aaron, Allen had taken up the game himself. That way father and son could spend more time together.
No longer awash in Allen’s constant loving attention because of his illness, Julie instead became his caregiver. Eventually, Allen could do nothing for himself. Julie describes the transition she was forced to make, reminding herself often that no matter how hard the task of care-taking became, Allen would have done as much for her.
In Sickness and in Health is a touching tribute to a loving husband, but its core may be the fifteen lessons Julie shares with readers to help them through their own grief at the loss of a loved one. She also shares important information about the prostate, which will be helpful both to wives and their husbands.