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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Words are powerful things. They shape our lives. They get us in trouble.

“We have to leave our house.” I remember those words from my wife, spoken in October, 2008. Those words changed our lives.

“You have mycotoxicosis,” our doctor said. He showed us through blood tests and the examination that we were severely affected by the mold in our house, and that our children would be affected for years to come, maybe for life.

And yesterday I heard some other words.

May 28th, one day before foreclosure proceedings began on our home, the final page in that chapter was written. We had signed papers earlier in the week and overnighted them to the closing agent. She emailed me yesterday to say everything was disbursed. Our house had been sold.

My next-door neighbor emailed and said that the dumpsters were already there. All of our stuff was being removed and thrown into the dust-bin of history. Furniture cut in pieces so people wouldn’t dumpster dive. Signs outside that said “Contaminated.” My beloved books with all those words I had read, everything from Pat Conroy to my first King James Bible. Writing books I treasured. Christmas ornaments for the kids. Yearbooks, a letter from Ronald Reagan, a fax I had kept from Jerry Jenkins, encouraging me to keep writing. All of it boxed up and tossed.

Something nagged at me. On the 29th, foreclosure was to begin. The closing agent said she was going to Fed-Ex payment. I wrote her quickly and explained. She said she would wire the funds instead, but that she had no idea how long it would take to get the funds. That sent me on a frantic search for phone numbers, hoping I could reach the right person at the mortgage company. I was on hold 27 minutes before getting cut off for the third time. It felt like something was against me. We’ve felt that feeling a lot this week.

I did the radio program and quickly called the mortgage company. You have to work your way through the phone tree in order to speak with a human. You give your account number. You state that you are not an agent calling on behalf of a customer. Etc. Etc. But this time was different. Instead of asking what I wanted to do, make a payment, see if my payment had been received, or any of the other ten things they listed, the digitized phone voice said, “Your account has been paid in full.”

Paid in full. Such wonderful words. Sure, we’d lost everything in the house. Sure we’d lost our huge downpayment—more than 25% of the home’s purchase price. (Don’t ask me why I put down that much. I actually wanted to put down more.) Sure, we’d lost our equity. But we’d saved our credit. We weren’t going to go through foreclosure and the legal hassles and the potential to have to pay even more.

Sadness mixed with elation. We’ll never go back to “our home” again. It’s someone else’s now. But that piece of our lives, that ten-year odyssey of struggle and illness and despair is over.

The phrase, “Paid in full,” kept returning. On the cross, when Jesus spoke his last words, he said that. We translate it, “It is finished.” But the word he spoke means “Paid in full.” He was paying there, in that awful scene, for everything I’ve ever done wrong. He was covering not just a downpayment on my sin, but the whole thing. That payment and our acceptance of the gift assures us that we’ll one day live in a place where moth, rust, mold and anything else that can mar a dwelling will never thrive. That blood spilled means I have freedom from everything that might separate me from the one who loved me enough to die for me.

We went out to eat last night in celebration. We’ve found one restaurant where we can eat without fear of reacting to the food. We sat around metal tables outside in the blistering heat and talked and laughed. Then we drove to a park and walked around a pond, watching the ducks and the dogs. It made me miss our pets. Then, as we always did when the kids finished their school year, we went to a bookstore and the kids each picked out something to start their summer reading regimen.

It had a ring of familiarity to me. Something old happening in a new place. Something good coming from a long trail of bad. All because of a few words said on a phone call that echoed what was spoken long ago. Paid in full.

Thank you for walking this road with us. If you’ve prayed for us, thank you. We’ve felt it the past few weeks. We’re not healed yet, but we’re moving in the right direction. We have three months left on our current lease and then we may have to move again. There are many issues that now have to be addressed with the business. But I’m confident we’re where God wants us to be. And there’s no better place on earth than that.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I did something today I never thought I would do. The thought never entered my mind. Almost ten years ago, our family moved into what we felt was a castle and we set down roots as far as the rocky soil of Colorado would allow.

Today I went to the USPS website and changed our address again. The post office gives you a choice between a “temporary” and “permanent” change. I had chosen temporary before because it was always our hope to move back to Colorado. Not to our old house, we knew we couldn’t live there, but some place in the vicinity. Our friends are there. Schools, our church, Walmart.

Today I marked the circle “Permanent,” and put in our current address in Arizona. The act was one in a long list of finals we’ve been going through. This one seemed significant to me. Just a mark on a website. Just a little circle with a black dot inside. How can such a small thing bring up so much pain and hurt?

At the end of the week, if all goes as planned, we will turn over our home to someone who has promised to remediate it correctly. They are paying off the rest of the loan, leaving us with memories and clean credit. It’s a victory of sorts for us, getting out from under the crushing weight of the house. But it’s also a loss.

This Saturday the dumpsters will arrive and everything we treasured, every Pat Conroy book that had been signed by the author, my daughter’s Taylor guitar, my first guitar I bought in tenth grade, all of our clothes, bedding, keepsakes from 27 years of marriage, Christmas ornaments, baby covers—everything we treasured will go into dumpsters.

If the bank had gotten the home, who knows how well it would have been cleaned. This really is the best scenario, but in a way it feels like getting kicked out of the Garden. I wanted to watch my daughters get married in that house. I wanted to write the Great American Novel there. I wanted to bury our dogs in the back yard.

But the hopes and dreams of ten years are going in the dumpster. The Lord gives and he takes away. Blessed be his name. The Lord drives some into the desert, to a dry and thirsty land. And souls are stirred in arid places.

Once, Jesus was asked why a man had been born blind, if it was his own sin or the sin of his parents that had caused his loss of sight. I picture Jesus smiling at them and pausing, knowing what would happen. Knowing what he could do in an instant. The man’s condition, he said, was not because of anyone’s sin, but so that the glory of God could be revealed. And he opened the man’s eyes and he saw for the first time.

Filled dumpsters seem an unlikely place for the glory of God to be revealed. But I have the faith to believe it. And I’m praying for eyes that can see.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
You have to keep your sense of humor when things are falling apart. This morning I was sitting in the palatial environs of the International Headquarters of the Chris Fabry Intergalactic Studios, and someone flushed the toilet in the bathroom behind me. I was recording some voiceover for Love Worth Finding, but right at that moment I was reading a line about the "throne room" and casting your burdens down. I couldn't help but chuckle. And then it was a little hard to get the composure back as I tried again to deliver the line in a believable way.

One of the things I won't hear again from our house in Colorado is my blooper reel. I remember one section on there when Carl Metcalf was recording some PSAs. He got to a place in the script and got stuck, so he did it again, and again, and then laughed, and at the end he was just laughing so hard you could hear the tears falling.

Carl died a few years ago in a tragic accident. I can still hear his voice. And I think he would have laughed at the "throne room" line as well.

Whatever you're going through today, whatever life has thrown at you, whatever sound you hear over your shoulder while you're trying to be serious, hang in there.