Singer tells of life's trials, stops Chasing the Wind
By Bill Fentum
DALLAS -- For Baptist layman William Boyd Chisum, life's challenges started at birth. Born prematurely at a West Texas hospital in 1956, he was given a mismatched blood transfusion that drove his temperature to 106 degrees. Nurses packed him in ice until the fever had passed.
Months later, his parents learned how disastrous the hospital's mistake had been; severe swelling had pushed his thigh bones and hip joints out of alignment, making the simple act of standing unbearably painful. Read More
No doctor offered hope until Brandon Carrell, then chief of staff at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, promised to do whatever he could. But he warned the Chisums that their son's treatment would be a lifelong process.
Mr. Chisum's autobiography, Chasing the Wind (Morgan James, 2006), tells of his time as a Scottish Rite patient (he averaged four to six months a year there before age 16); his careers as a Nashville performer and an orthopedic physician's assistant; and his life today as a Christian music artist.
His second CD carries the same title as the book, with songs reflecting his motto: God's grace is sufficient to meet any test. Faith in those words has seen him through several total hip-replacement surgeries, each one riskier than the last.
At age 8, he learned to play a donated Silvertone guitar at Scottish Rite, and it consoled him during months in body casts and stays in isolation wards. He refined his musical gifts in high school and church choirs, then went to Hardin-Simmons University on a vocal scholarship.
"But I learned real quick that I didn't want to be the opera tenor they wanted me to be," he told an audience at First Baptist Church in Sunnyvale, Texas. "Because I was just a little country boy with a machine-gun vibrato."
After a failed stint as a pre-med major at Oklahoma State University, he pursued a boyhood dream. "I started hearing the whisperings of the wind, in the ear of my ego: 'Boyd, why are you struggling so much? You sing pretty good -- why don't you just go off to Nashville and become a big star?'"
For a while it all came true. Mr. Chisum toured until the early 90s with bands such as Alabama, Diamond Rio and Sawyer Brown. He even scored a small hit with a solo single, "Till Dawn Do Us Part."
"It was wonderful," he said, "until I started seeing the dark side of country music that very few people like to discuss. It was as if Satan had opened up a branch office on Music Row, and he was handing out lifetime supplies of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. I'm ashamed to say that for 10-plus years, I stood in that line."
He left the music business after meeting his wife, Nena, at a New Mexico radio station -- and recommitted his life to God. At first, not everyone believed the change, including Nena's stepfather Jack Moulton, whose own Christian conversion (he's now a Baptist minister and church consultant) is recounted in the book.
Wanting to help others as he had been helped, Mr. Chisum earned a degree in sports medicine and started work in Dallas as an assistant to an orthopedic surgeon. But two years into the strenuous job, his left hip deteriorated, ending his medical career.
"I wasn't able to stand in surgery any longer, I wasn't able to run a clinic," he said. "We've all experienced the death of a vision in our lives. So much of what I thought would bring me happiness -- money, fame, knowledge -- crumbled before my eyes, and blew away in the very wind I had been chasing."
Depressed, he considered suicide but knew how much it would hurt his loved ones, especially Nena and their 7-year-old son, Brock. Instead he resigned himself to one more hip replacement and then returned to his music, heeding God's call to "sing the story of my life."
The Chasing the Wind CD's first track, "He Still Moves the Stone," voices Mr. Chisum's conviction that "hopelessness went out with the Resurrection."
"When I go to heaven and reach the pearly gates," he said, "for the first time in my life, I'm gonna run. The Bible says it's fire that proves the quality of gold; it's not a matter of circumstance but a matter of choice. Choose to live a life that matters for Jesus Christ. Be others-oriented, be mountain-minded."
For more information, visit www.williamboydchisum.com. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article will be published in the February 2, 2007 issue of the United Methodist Reporter, and is posted with permission from UMR Communications, 1221 Profit Drive, Dallas, Texas 75247. 1-800-947-0207.
Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 @ 12:09:25 PM (Archive on 2/23/2007)
Posted by rrussell and contributed by rrussell
Bill Fentum - United Methodist Reporter (Feb 2, 2007)
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