I want to pause for moment to tell you about a dear friend of ours named Galen Dolby.
My wife, Kathy, and I give thanks to God for Galen and his family. And our hearts are crying for Galen and his wife (Laura) and his three kids (Liz, Adi, and Ike) as Galen struggles with the cancer that has overtaken his body.
We have known the Dolby’s well over 16 years. Back in her pre-Ken-days, Kathy had the privilege to live with the Dolby’s while she was a student at Indiana University. Galen was the director of the Youth for Christ group in Bloomington at the time and Kathy was serving as a volunteer leader in the local high schools. The Dolby’s invited Kathy to be a nanny for their kids and to experience the ins and outs of the Dolby lifestyle. Everything worked out so well that summer… Kathy began to feel that she was a sort-of-adopted "sister" in their family and developed an incredible love for each of them. She saw a family that had a real faith in a real world raising real kids and working real jobs (Laura is a nurse) and going through real experiences. Kathy values her experience living with the Dolby’s as one of the most meaningful of her life.
I entered the scene when Kathy and I finally (after much pursuit on my part!) started dating in the late summer of 1991. On August 24th, I picked Kathy up from her dorm and went on an all day date, with a stop at the Dolby’s. By 1:30 in the morning on August 25th, I knew I wanted to marry Kathy.
So for the next couple years, while Kathy and I progressed in our relationship, I found myself staying every now and then at the Dolby’s house while Kathy was in her dorm on campus. I remember being up late one night when Laura came down in her PJ’s, having forgotten that I was staying there. She screamed when she saw me sitting on the couch!! I also remember testing their electronic dog collar on myself- because I was too dumb to understand why a "little" shock would stop a dog from leaving a yard. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so high in my whole life!
Kathy and I went to church often with the Dolby’s, had lunches and chats. Kathy and I have often said that we try to shape our marriage after theirs. And in fact, when Kathy and I were married in 1994, the Dolby’s drove all the way up to Minneapolis to be a part of the wedding. And we will be forever grateful for that!
Over the years, as Kathy and I moved around Canada and the US, we always stayed in touch with the Dolby’s. If we traveled to Indiana to see our family, we always made sure to stop and see the Dolby’s. Besides our own, we couldn’t think of a family we’d rather be with.
As Galen faithfully served God in YFC he took on more and more regional responsibility. His passion seeing youth come to follow Jesus and for developing leaders to shepherd youth impacted a multi-state area. On a couple occasions, through Galen’s gentle encouragement, I considered settling back down in Indiana to rejoin YFC staff just because Galen asked. Perhaps he should have pushed me a bit harder! But Galen’s spirit is a humble one. Galen doesn’t manipulate people… and he trusts God to lead and work in someone’s heart. Galen is patient and kind, a true Philippians 2 sort of guy. He’s the kind of guy I would like to be!
When Galen was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 2002, he had his right kidney and part of his liver removed. While he has had so many surgeries and radiations and treatments and has been fighting for his life these last 5.5 years, his faith has remained intact… and from my perspective… has truly been revealed to the rest of us. His body is a perishable jar of clay, but the incredible power of God shines from within him! The God he loved and served before cancer is the same one he loves and serves now. With tumors in virtually every area of his body, Galen presses on towards the finishing line. He is like CS Lewis’ Aslan- a gentle warrior with power in his heart and care in his hands to his last breath. In the reality of the fight on this earth that we must each go through, Galen inspires me to live more deeply and more truly for God and others.
As Galen’s condition has worsened terribly in recent weeks, I have felt compelled to share his story with those I love. I want others to know that Galen has shown me how a man can love Jesus and love his family with faithfulness and gentleness and humility. I would be the best of men in history if I could be the kind of husband, dad and pastor that Galen has been. He is a true hero of mine.
Galen recently blessed me by completing an interview focused on the principles of passing faith on to the next generation. I intend to post that interview on this site soon. His comments are full of the wisdom and love and passion for Jesus that have sustained Galen faithfully in ministry for many years.
Would you all join me in praying for Galen and Laura and their family. Please give thanks to God for them… and ask God to keep leading them along the path.
With tears in my eyes, an ache in my throat, and inexpressible gratitude in my soul,