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Wednesday November 18, 2015

Dwight Fletcher remembers the shock when he and his wife learned their son Brian had a rare form of cancer—especially since Brian was just two years old.

Fletcher and his family, including Brian's twin brother, Joel, strove to fill Brian's remaining years with as much love and support as possible. Brian passed away days before his ninth birthday.

A devout Christian and Harvard graduate, Fletcher felt led by God to share Brian's story via writing, in-between his responsibilities as CEO of Dallas-based marketing research firm Spearfish, Inc. His book, Time on the Cross: A Father's Tribute, was released on November 8.

Official Synopsis: For those facing insurmountable life challenges, who have fallen to the bottom and are only able to look up, Time on the Cross delivers hope, for it is at these life-defining moments that God wants us to seek Him—and Him only. Although it has always been God's plan and desire to have us look to Him every day for all things, many of us only look to Him in times of desperation.

Fletcher's raw telling of the events that rocked his family's world reflect the voice of a young father who never thought he and his family would have such a tragedy strike this close to home. The way Brian dealt with his sickness with courage, humility, and grace can instruct us all when we face our unique and personal times on the cross, for these tempests will certainly shake the tree of our beliefs and reveal and demonstrate the source of our comfort and peace amidst the crisis and pain. Quite simply, God saved his family's life.

As part of Mountain Valley Hospice's "Five Questions" series, Fletcher talks about the inspiration behind Time on the Cross and what he hopes readers will gain from it.

Mountain Valley Hospice: Time on the Cross is your first book. Have you wanted to write books in general, for a long time? Or were you inspired to write just this particular one?

Dwight Fletcher: My son's death inspired me to write this book—I really felt I had no choice, because of the incredible things we experienced. I have no great desire to write books in general, although I may write another one about my business experiences, totally unrelated to this.

MVH: What does the title, Time on the Cross, mean?

DF: Time on the Cross refers to my belief that everyone in this life will, at one time, face a life-defining challenge that they can't handle on their own. In those situations, we are in a very real sense on the cross, experiencing our own small version of what Christ went through, and this is when God has us where He wants us, where all we can do is look to Him for rescue. This is how God wants us to respond to Him every day with every challenge: to look to Him first.

MVH: Faith can be a challenging subject when it comes to grief—some find comfort in it, while others have confusion or anger toward God in their bereavement. What is your approach to this? As a Christian, how was your own faith affected?

DF: We knew we were in a terrible situation from early on when Brian was given a 50 percent chance to live, and our faith in God is what got us through. Brian's sickness made us stronger, and we were never angry with God, because we knew God did not make Brian sick. As you'll see in the book, I was believing until the very end that Brian was going to be healed here on earth, not medically but God was going to heal him from his sickness. I guess that is where I was disappointed because I felt so strongly that this healing was going to happen. When it didn't, I realized God had other plans and that Brian was ultimately healed, just not here—on God's terms, not mine.

MVH: You're the CEO of Spearfish, Inc. How did you balance grief with all the responsibilities of your job?

DF: Quite simply, God gave me the strength, focus and peace to continue to work—there's no other explanation. I believe that God is still holding my family very tightly in His hands. Again, there's no other way to explain it.

I would like people to realize that only God can give you the peace and strength you need when you face impossible situations, and that by trusting in Him in those circumstances, you will continue to build your faith, just like athletes through practice learn to play at higher levels.

MVH: By writing this book, you are able to introduce Brian to new people for years and years to come. What is one particular thing—whether a characteristic or a story—that you would like readers to know about Brian?

DF: I think the best stories about Brian are all throughout the book. His persona is captured pretty well in the soccer stories.

Time on the Cross: A Father's Tribute is now available to purchase on Amazon.com. For more information about Dwight Fletcher, visit SpearfishDallas.com.

―Josh Armstrong, Publications Specialist (Mount Airy, NC)

Tags: Grief Support