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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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Thursday, September 1, 2011
My mind is a cavern waiting to be mined, with treasures in darkness.

My mind is my friend, but once it is stirred, it waits like a specter and will not relent.

I’m working on a new story. In the middle of the night I awaken, as I have these past few months, put on my hat with the flashlight duct-taped to it, and wander to the kitchen and retrieve the instruments I will use to call forth blood from my son to see where his blood sugars stand. If a test is all I have to do, I can wander back to bed and perhaps fall asleep. But more often than not, my mind begins to whir as I fumble for a needle and the insulin that will stabilize him. Or a spoonful of organic honey to raise him in his sleep, as happened today.

And it was in that single dot of light coming from my hat that helped me make the connection between my grandfather and my own life today. My grandfather was ten years old when D.L. Moody died. He was born in the old country, in what was then Austria-Hungary, where the seeds of world conflict were first sown.

When he came to America, to avoid that conflict, he worked his way south and wound up in the hills of West Virginia, or better described, inside the hills. He was a coal miner. My father was born in a little town called Omar, WV in 1920. His father was 31 at the time. I can imagine, with a newborn baby, what life might have been like to awaken on some cold, West Virginia morning and strap on his headlamp and walk to the mine and descend and dig in the darkness of the earth for coal. Digging in darkness and paid pennies for the company.

My grandfather was too smart to remain a coal miner. He saw what it could do to a man, to a family, the hardscrabble life wed to the company and the store. So he traveled north and settled in the town where I would eventually be born when my father was 41.

And that is where my own seeds were sown. Every man has a conflict, a retinue of discord that he must grasp and use each day to propel himself forward. This is the momentum of life, a gift and yet a curse. Some weathered tool he uses to strike the earth and pull stones and gems and ballast. My grandfather worked hard in the earth. I do not toil as he did, but I work at a different mine.


I’ve been working on a new story for more than a week. Usually the first
fourteen days are easy and fun. Daunting at first and filled with doubt that I can keep all the plot plates spinning, I dive in, propelled by the hook of the beginning, that twist of life that I believe will grab readers and pull them into the mine of the story. This beginning process propels me for at least 100 pages. And then the fun stops and the hard work of Act 2 begins. The weather gets colder. It starts to rain and the leaves fall and bones ache early in the morning. This is where the resolve is tested. It’s where you learn the most about your characters and the depth of your story. The light begins to shine on your own soul here.

I tried going back to bed at 2:45. I really did. I thought, if my grandfather had the chance to crawl back to bed instead of trudging through mud into that mine, he would have. But my mind wouldn’t still. So I prayed. I thanked God that I was not a miner, that I did not work in a job that physically taxed me. I thanked him for giving me meaningful work each day that made sense to me and perhaps encourages others. And then I prayed for my family and friends who are going through difficulty. I thought this would allow me to sleep, but it did not.

So I turned on the computer and walked the few steps to the mineshaft that is my office, a long, cramped room filled with books and radio equipment and towels and covers hanging that knock down the noise. I came here to meet my characters again, to find out what will happen on page 60. To hear their voices and smell the musty air they breathe driving in an old truck through the desert, hoping the man who is hunting them will not find them. These are people without defined faces and pasts who I am trying to call forth from the darkness, and I will not find them or paint them if I am not with them. This is a good story, perhaps my best, and I am praying their tale will make readers squirm and laugh and cry and want to run into the arms of God.

My mind is a cavern waiting to be mined, with treasures in darkness.

My mind is my friend, but once it is stirred, it waits like a specter and will not relent.

And I am grateful for the one who calls me from sleep to help my son, and in doing so, help myself.


Kathleen in Chicago said...

Hi Chris, this made me cry and I am not sure why. Maybe it is the struggle of life that hits me deep in the heart. It is something that we all live through, living in a fallen world. Life can really be hard at times, painful, life is hard but God is good. And I am so thankful that we have a future to look forward to, sometimes that is all we have and we need to cling onto that for dear life.

Meghan Carver said...

Vivid imagery, Chris. I find that my mining sometimes brings up sparkling jewels and sometimes it brings up a bucketful of rocks. It seems that you have sparkling jewels all the time!