May 30, 2013
Despite the miles we have traversed on the rocky road to equality and justice for all, there are still very few things that truly bear no sense of discrimination.
Unfortunately, cancer is one of those things.
Regardless of background, socio-economic status, religious affiliation, morality or even lifestyle, anyone, anywhere can become a host for cancer. But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, perhaps the most compelling chapter of one’s journey is choosing how he or she will respond to their diagnosis.
In most cases, it’s not black or white.
The line between grace and resentment is fine.
The separation of faith and bitterness is often muddled.
Acceptance can become depression; hope can become fear.
As trust in a greater plan gets tested over and over, what once was resiliency can change into complacency and, eventually, defeat.
Carman knows all of these emotions all too well.
“Honestly, I have had so many life-altering tragedies in the past twelve years, I’ve kind of gone numb to the, ‘Why me lord?’” shares Carman. “I’ve gone thorough that so many times, and came up with not enough answers. You think of reasons why God would be displeased or pleased with you and almost anything makes sense. Everybody has a genuine perspective and all of them make sense.”
To be certain, the temptation to find the rationale behind his latest diagnosis was there; but God blessed Carman with the perspective to step back, take in the facts—he had been incurable Multiple Myeloma Cancer and 3-5 years—and have the wherewithal to press on and find ways to make this potentially tragic sentence into a blessing for others.
“When the doctor told me, it hit me hard. But I immediately felt like, ‘Ok…that’s pretty much it. I’ve done what I’ve been called to do,” he says. “There’s a point in time for every man to go. I’m ready. I didn’t cry and say, ‘Why me, Lord?’ I know where that takes me. There are no answers at the end of that road. Sometimes, things just happen.”
And so, with a clear mind and rational acceptance of his condition, Carman did what most of us wouldn’t do—he looked to the future and contemplated how he could maximize all the days he has left.
“When I looked at the clock, I realized I probably had three good years if things go well,” he says. “I could go anytime before that, but I wanted to see how I can be the most productive. I didn’t think making a record was going to be part of it.”
Despite his tremendous success in his earlier career, the last several years had been rather dry on the musical front. After several dead ends, Carman basically resigned to set it aside.
“When people don’t believe in you, or want to work with you, you leave it alone,” he shares.
Not surprisingly, that assessment wasn’t completely accurate.
After his diagnosis, Carman posted his latest news on facebook and the flood gates were veritably unleashed.
“I put the post on facebook [explaining the diagnosis]. I didn’t expect much. I thought I’d get a few hundred posts,” he says. “But what I thought was going to be 3-400 became 3-4,000. I started asking myself, ‘Where were all these people two years ago? What does this mean?’”
Soon enough, God provided answers to his questions.
Prompted by his internal desire to continue to minister through music and
encouraged by the social media response, Carman launched a Kickstarter campaign
to fund a new project.
“I put the Kickstarter campaign up and it just started to take off,” he says. “When I saw that money start to come in, how fast it was coming in, I knew that it meant that there’s something God wants me to do musically. He was giving me the wherewithal to do it; I’m kind of obligated!”
As song ideas and melodies began to roll into his head, Carman, the consummate professional, knew that there would be much more involved in this process than simply producing a record.
“A record is just a precursor,” he shares. “It’s the wave on which ministry surfs. A tour would be coming out of this. And if this is His doing, He’s going to have to help me physically.”
A consummate professional, Carman knows all too well the demands a successful album requires—physically, emotionally and spiritually. But, riding high on the wave of momentum God had already set in motion, Carman is determined to prove himself worthy of the call…even if it doesn’t entirely make sense.
“I don’t get it,” he says with a laugh. “Is this a nice send off? You never know where God moves. When He steps back, there’s nothing you can do to force his hand. But the way all this happened…all on its own; organically…God did this on His own.”
Within the first 20 days of the Kickstarter campaign, $17,500 came in…the original goal was $20,000…in 60 days!
As the campaign continues, the kind of album, the extent of a tour and all the other ancillary components of such a venture are up in the air.
“If more money comes in, then we’ll make a video. And we’ll have promotion cost, hotels, travel, food…to do it right,” he shares. “If God wants it, He’ll provide it. That tells me everything about the near future. You can’t do a record without a tour. For a tour, I’ll have to be at a certain level of health. When I start doing the math, I guess I’m going to be here for a little while longer.”
With support coming forth in droves, Carman is not only motivated to make music again; his own faith in his purpose and mission in life has been fortified and clarified.
“Usually, you look for one or two people to believe in you,” he says. “With this, you’re looking for several hundred…several thousand people. It’s overwhelming. It makes me want to do better.”
At the writing of this article, May 22, 2013, the $200,000 campaign has already exceeded $265,000 with 27 days to go. With nearly 3,000 people already supporting the project financially, it’s clear that Carman’s impact around the world has been and continues to be monumental.
And, while we live in a world in which tragedy and illness show no discretion, we live forever because of a God whose mercy is equally non-discriminating. That’s the message Carman has shared for years and it is one that is burning brighter than ever despite the winds that try to extinguish the flames.
Want to get involved?
Carman fans get ready for a once in a lifetime chance to partner with him to make history with a new CD & Music Video project.
I'm so excited about this incredible opportunity we all have through "Kickstarter" to make something happen as a team and a family. Through this fundraiser for a new CD and Video project, we can finally have something big we can interact on, on a personal level. 8 weeks ago I was diagnosed with incurable Multiple Myeloma Cancer and given a 3-5 year window of time. It seemed like a death sentence but through Kickstarter God has turned it into a life sentence…
For more information about Carman, visit carman.org.
Caroline Lusk is editor of CCM Magazine.