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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 276 - Journey To Forgiveness {FMF}

We're back with kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday, the timed keyword-driven writing challenge. Please visit for some really great and faith-filled writing!

I'm not doing too well; my leg isn't really healing, and a couple of abscessed teeth are adding to the pain of a failing pancreas. This isn't much fun. So, I'm writing ahead of time in case I can't get into the FMF timeframe. I'll try to work in this week's word when it's revealed.

(It's SLOW. Perfect.)

I can't do much these day. The physical act of writing hurts, and it's all I can do to remain active on my blog, and connect in the blogosphere. Being able to concentrate on a book or DVD is compromised by pain, and as for doing anything physical, it's just not possible.

Plenty of time to think, as life's gotten slow.

And I've been thinking about forgiveness.

I have things for which I need to be forgiven, and there are things I must forgive.

Like, the people who raised me as a child. They were abusive in ways I would prefer not to describe. For decades, I hated them. I hoped that they would rot in hell for all eternity, violated without respite as I was violated.

And now, I hope that in their final moments they accepted Christ, and that they are in His presence. In Heaven. Forgiven, and loved.

How do you go from hate to forgiveness?

I've heard it said that you have to forgive to lighten your own burdens. From the outside, that makes sense. But it's wrong. Dead wrong.

Because if you forgive for your own sake, you're falling into the trap of loving those who love you...except in this case, you're just loving yourself. Forgiveness becomes a self-help strategy.

That put aside, do you forgive for the sake of the forgiven? Not really, because that is kind of meaningless. The only one who can truly forgive is the Almighty. My words and thoughts, however sincere, mean very little. (And maybe the miscreants don't want forgiveness from me.)

So where do you go with forgiveness? What's the point?

Simple, really, It's the price of admission.

If you want to go from LA to Honolulu, you've got to cross a couple thousand miles of ocean. There's no other way. If you want the palm trees and the hula girls and the frangipani, there's a lot of water between you and them.

You've got to cross it, by 747 or DC-3 or outrigger canoe. Maybe it'll be easy, maybe it'll be uncomfortable (DC-3s are LOUD), and maybe it'll be dangerous.

Same thing with forgiveness. If you want eternal life, if you want to be able to share Heaven with Jesus and God and all the harp-playing dudes and chicks, you've got to forgive.

Completely.

Because if you take a splinter of unforgiveness into Heaven, it'll tear you up over time, and eternity is a long time.

It's not easy, it's not fun, and as a one-shot deal, it's not possible.

So it's a journey. A trip. Maybe a bad trip.

We have to forgive our enemies every day. The grace we offered yesterday is yesterday's news.

Today, it begins again.

And my five minutes are up.

When you can't forgive, you're stuck in a moment and can't get out of it...Bono and The Edge said this better and more melodiously than I ever could.



A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.














Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 275 - The High-Wire Act

We're lined with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please visit Beth's site for some really great marriage and relationship resources!

The world teaches us to define ourselves by what we do, and what we hope to do.

And when you're a caregiver - or a patient - existence can narrow to a kaleidoscope of pain and mes and despair, seeing the situation spiraling out of control.

It's easy to lose the meaning.

We all tend to use media to reinforce the image we have of what we'd like our lives to be, of what we hope they'll become. It isn't a bad thing, except when the message and experience diverge.

Cynicism creeps in - the messages seem meant for some other class of people. The relationship we wanted, of joyful camaraderie and fun dissolves into loathsome bedpans and endless laundry.

The plans we had for a future of adventure mock us.

So we sink into a paradigm of rejection. It's understandable, but it's also, in the end, destructive.

We were made to hope, and while our indoctrination, using media messages to build hope, is terribly crude, it doesn't mean that it isn't necessary.

What to do?

  • First, cut off the cynical response when it rises in your heart. it's hard; believe me, I know, for I've experienced it, and experience it every day. But mocking a media and world that seem to mock me simply didn't do any good.
  • Second, build a focused point of redemption in your heart. Don't wish for a return to normal, but do anticipate the possibility that one dream may drift within reach again. It might take a miracle, but there have been miracles.
  • Third, concentrate on what you can do. If you and your husband or wife were once avid hikers, try to take pleasure in being able to sit outside together on a nice day, rather than mourning what's lost.
  • Fourth, as a caregiver, keep your dreams alive. It's a cold way to look at it, but caregiving will not last forever, and one day (if the situation's terminal) your caregiving journey will end. Would not your mate want you to have a life to enjoy after he or she is gone? Obviously, it's not something to share or display in from of the patient, but hold these dreams as softly glowing embers in your own heart. If you can enjoy life once again, that will be the best testament to your love.
What do you think? How would you suggest keeping the meaning in your life?

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Sunday, February 19, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 274 - Tiles and Mirrors

"No matter how diligently you polish a tile, it will never become a mirror." - Zen proverb

As a caregiving spouse, you probably have an idea of how you want your life and function to 'look'. It's a picture made up of the history of your relationship, and influenced by examples you may have seen in your own lie, and by books and films.

And there's also you, wanting to be the best version of yourself in a caring role.

But sometimes reality gets in the way. The marriage may have been rough, and your examples not of the best.

And you may be dealing with your own issues as well, be they health or work-related. balancing a life that's being lived as a caregiving sacrifice against the demands of a high-speed stainless society leaves a lot of bruises.

And the lovely mirror that you want to be reflective of your best, and successful efforts remains a tile, no matter how hard you polish.

But remember this - that tiles have their uses/ making up a roof, they keep out the rain.

And who would roof a home with mirrors?

Please forgive the brevity of this post. I'm really not doing well.

A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.












Thursday, February 16, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 273 - I Hope You Dance {FMF}

We're back again with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday, the timed and keyword driven writing challenge that attracts some really talented writers to the linkup. Please drop by!

Writing ahead of time again, because strength is now measurably failing. Unfortunate, but expected...and not resented. God disposes. If I can work this week's word in, I will.

(The word's WEAK.)

Hollywood makes dying seem easy. The patient's got a fashionable pallor, and is pretty lucid all the way up to the end...hanging on to make a final heartwarming Hallmark-moment speech.

The reality's different; the pallor's not pretty, and various parts of the body bloat badly from time to time.

You limp, and sometimes crawl.

And talking's hard. I try to say a couple of words and I start coughing which turns into dry heaves that feel like they;re going to tear me in half. Barb figures that in a spell like this, it's how I'm going to die.

Then the blood comes up.

How would you like to see that on a twenty-foot-tall screen at your local mall theatre?

Hold the ketchup on the hot dog, yeah.

And incontinence. Not something for the silver screen.

But it's all good, and it's all still a life more blessed and fruitful than I could ever imagine, because in the times between...I'm enjoying the life I have.

The small moments that I would have let pass - the sound of a bird singing an unusual song, for example - moments I would have let pass, I now hold to my heart.

There's some laughter, too...I wrote about it in my last post, and you can read it here if you like.

And night-time...one would think that's when the fears and anguish come, because there's nothing to distract the mind from the pain that's keeping one awake, and the prospect of unknown horrors to come...

But no. It's a quiet time, and while it's physically very uncomfortable I can hear the dogs snoring and barking in their dreams, the hum of the refrigerator, the distant clang! from the railyard in the valley, the soft whine of an airliner high overhead.

Those gentle good sounds. They call me to life, and the darkness does not call me to death.

And most of all the knowledge that I still have the strength to say, Look, even when you're hurting and hope is slipping away, life can be good, because God is still good.

He didn't wish this on me; He's not testing me. He's drying His tears at the necessity for a fallen world that admits pain...

And He's holding out His hand.

Not to support me while I'm puking (OK, sometimes)...

But to dance. And it's not a dance for the weak, but for those who put on His strength.


I hope you dance.



A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.


I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.














Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 272 - Some Fun!

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please drop by Beth's place to take advantage of some awesome marriage resources.

Being terminal isn't ll doom and gloom. There's some fun, as well. (And none of what follows is irreverent - it's related as it happened, with sincerity. Idiotic sincerity, perhaps.)

Some of it comes from being somewhat hard of hearing, and not having an extensive knowledge of Christian music. Barb has had to set me straight on some lyrics. (There's also the issue of repeated concussion scrambling my mental input.)

Me - "What's the Christian problem with squirrels?"
Barb - "Uh...OK. What?"
Me - "Well, I heard a song that goes, "Take these squirrels and give me Jesus..."
Barb - "World. Not squirrels, world."
Me - "Oh. Yeah, right, Knew that."

And, having a lot of Irish influence in my life, I was naturally drawn to -

Me - "Hey, Sweetie, love the Jesus beer song!"
Barb - "Uh...OK."
Me (singing) - "If you want the King of Beers...come and have a Bud with Jesus!"
Barb - "Help, my eyes rolled so far back they're stuck!"
Me - "Need a hand, or a screwdriver?"
Barb - (unprintable)

I was later informed that the correct lyrics were, "What shall wash away my tears, nothing but the Blood of Jesus..."

Oops.

Here's one in which a recent fall and concussion ruled. Barb was good enough to write it down -

Me - "What did Jesus have against tigers?"
Barb - "TIGERS?"
Me - "His friend Judas had a lion, you know, the lion of Judas...and He was always healing leopards...but why no tigers?"
Barb - "I can't even begin to answer that."

And then, of course, there's gallows humour - here's a meme I found, and while I can't trace its origin, if you click on the image you will find the site that carries it -



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.















Sunday, February 12, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 271 - Do You Want To Know?

This post will of necessity be short; I had a bad fall yesterday, and a severe concussion. Recovery is slow, and thinking, much less typing, is quite difficult.

So, I would like to ask a question - if you were terminally ill, would you want to know how long you had (at least according to a doctor's best estimate)?

It's not a question I can really answer, because my doctor thinks I should have been dead four years ago. I'm on a lot of borrowed time, and I'm starting to really feel it.

But I still don't want to know. I want to face every day with the hope that I can live it, and every night with the hope that I will survive it.

In the words of Thor, played in cinema by Chris Hemsworth, "I have no plans to die today."

To which Heimdall (Idris Elba) answered, "None do."

So, what about you? Do you want to know the approximate date and mode of your passing, or not?

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.






Thursday, February 9, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 270 - The Safe Place {FMF}

We're here again with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday, the timed keyword-driven writing challenge. Please drop by, and meet some awesome writers.

The word this week is...SAFE.

OK.

I spent most of my life sleeping with a pistol under my pillow.

I don't do that now; for one thing, my dear wife would be rather freaked out if I did, and for another, my pillow is now a very large and capable Pit Bull. Sylvia, please take a bow (you too, Barb!)!



There are terrors in the night, and I wanted a safe place.

But my nights are really no longer threatened by angry folks carrying AKs and machetes. They're now ruled by pain that just won't end, and eerie dreams that put me back into places I am tempted to describe, but won't, because I don't want you to throw up whist reading this. I'm not kidding.

I want a refuge, a safe place for my heart.

There are people who scorn safety, .the 'extreme adventure athletes' who think that risking their lives just for the sake of doing it is somehow a virtue.

These people are idiots. I know; I used to be one.

I want a safe, warm place where I can rest. I've done enough; more than enough.

And I have one. My home, where I'm cared for by my lovely and loving wife, and a lot of dogs.

But...I think every day of the people for whom this would be an impossible dream.

I have a refuge; but what of the refugee?

Am I more beloved of God than the Syrian Christian, or the Iraqi Shi'a, or the Somali animist who just wants to be anywhere but where they are now?

Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statue of Liberty can't become public policy and more than can An American Tail or Neil Diamond's famous song about immigrants.

And even more, what of our own citizens whom we have ignored? What of the twenty-two veterans who kill themselves every day because PTSD is too hard to live with? What of our senior citizens who are effectively denied medical care because they can't afford the co-pays and deductibles? What of the children trapped in failing schools by a system that is more willing to consider them examples than people?

We can't ignore the terrors without, lest our oasis of liberty become surrounded by a blood-dimmed tide.

We can't ignore the terrors at home, because they will cause the moral ground to open beneath our feet and swallow us.

I don't have any answer except to know that do nothing is not an answer.

And rest assured...God is watching.


As you do this to the least of My children, you do it to Me.





I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.