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Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 339 - Revelation and Forgiveness

My fatal illness was not an accident of nature, nor a judgement or test sent by the Almighty.

It was done to me. Not deliberately, but through negligence.

(And this is my post for Five Minute Friday, being written, necessarily, ahead of time. I will try to work in the keyword when it is given.)

(It's COLLECT.)

Many years ago (I won't say when or where) I had abdominal surgery, which was done laparoscopically and should have been routine. An overnight stay in hospital, and I was out.

Recovery wasn't routine. There was a lot of pain, and I went back to see the surgeon.

This individual (I won't specify gender) didn't think much of my complaint, inferring that I was a hypochondriac, and left the exam room.

Three hours later the receptionist opened the door and asked exactly what I was still doing there, as the office was closing. The surgeon had left to play golf.

So I went home, and toughed it out. Barbara and I were due to move to a new home, and I was to drive a u-haul loaded with aeroplane parts on that 14-hour road trip.

When we got to where we were going, Barb had to carry me from the truck to the house.

An ER trip led to an appointment with a gastroenterologist, and he was horrified at what had happened. After several ERCPs (they stick a flexible fiberoptic telescope down your throat into your gut and look around) and CAT scans, he told me that I had been leaking bile into my abdomen, had cold sepsis, and that my pancreatic duct was damaged. He was kind of surprised that I was still alive.

He referred me to the Mayo Clinic, and they tried a procedure that had a mortality rate of 70%' worth a shot, eh?

But it didn't work, and I was told that there was nothing that could be done. Pancreatic cancer was going to be my fate, if acute or chronic pancreatitis didn't kill me first. It would be highly unpleasant.

And here we are.

For years I carried a load of hate in my heart, directed - understandably, I hope - at the original surgeon.

I wanted, in the worst way (there are a few meanings to that phrase) to personally introduce that individual to the devil, for it was there that I was sure that was where the road lay.

Every time my right leg gave way (the head of the pancreas is on the right side of the upper abdomen, and refers pain with a kind of unholy glee), I imagined gory medieval scenes in which the surgeon was the principal.

The interest I collected on my investment in hate didn't make me a lot of fun to be around.

And then...I remembered an old adage which has served me well. Hatred had driven it out of mind.

Never ascribe to malice that which can as easily be explained by stupidity or incompetence.

I was being grossly unfair. The surgeon didn't want to kill me, or make me sick. This individual was simply going off a body of experience and literature references, and made a judgement that was very wrong.

Oops. But that's all it was. Just, oops.

And I was left holding a bag whose bottom had been burnt out by the acid from my own heart.

Forgiveness does not come easy, because in this case, forgiveness is not required.

It was a mistake. There's nothing to forgive, or hold in hatred.

It was unfortunate, and that's all.

It's frustrating. A part of me wants to hate, and a part of me wants to feel oh-so-Godly and forgive, but neither is an acceptable posture.

So wat IS the acceptable posture?

LET IT GO.

And move on. Sure it's unfortunate, sure it's unfair, but so what?

Is hate going to make anything better?

Is feeling righteous in setting aside wrath for forgiveness going to make me a better person...or just someone who thinks so highly of himself that he can't see that mistakes happen, bad things happen, and the only real way to deal with them is with a smile, and a firm resolve to look ahead, however close the horizon of life has become?

Time to let go.

And let God.

Time for some cheerfully high-spirited and fun music from Guster, with Do You Love Me?



Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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, July 18, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 338 - Stronger Than God!

Well, according to Pastor Bobby Schuller (of Hour Of Power), I am stronger than God.

In his sermon last week he talked about God's strength, and mentioned that God has 16-in biceps.

I have 17-inch biceps.

Case closed. Though God's muscle tone is probably a bit better.

Obviously, no one and nothing is stronger than the Almighty, but His strength, or a part of it, is always ours for the asking.

We do, however, need to ask.

See, our strength reaches its height, its maximum, when we recognize our weakness (Paul's words, credit where it's due!). Only then, when our muscles are trembling and on the brink of failure, when we say, "God, I can't do this, HELP ME!" do we open up the barriers that separate us from the Almighty. We bow to the reality that we can't do it alone.

And He steps in. In the physical realm, our bodies are limited by their design and construction, as is any engineered entity...I mean, you can take a Ferrari 308 (think Magnum, PI) to the skidpad, and under ideal conditions the best lateral acceleration it can achieve is 0.77 g.

So your body has limits, but turning to God can help you reach those limits, and not stop short. I've seen it often, and hey, I see it every day, when I ask God to help me rise to a standing position, and walk.

But more important is the spiritual and moral strength we can be given. It's the strength to keep hope alive when everything's going dark (been there, done that), and the strength to keep a man from acting to seduce a married woman with whom he's fallen desperately in love. Yeah, been there too.

Our physical selves want to quit, to give in, to take the easy road or that which might promise more pleasure.

But God is more than willing to stiffen our spines, not in correction but in love, to save us from the worst we can bem and bring us to the best we can be in that moment.

Sometimes the best you can be seems pretty small.

But to God, who knows the limits you carry, it can be huge.

But (thanks, Bobby Schuller!), my biceps are still  bigger than God's!

Just for fun, here's Feeder with Buck Rogers. Enjoy!


Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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, July 16, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 337 - Rising Above

I have to apologise, this will be ery short. A couple of awful days put paid to what I wanted to write.

But I do have a suggestion for you...if you haven't seen it yet, rent or buy the film Passengers.

It's a really terrific exposition about what we can do to rise above the bad things that happen to us...or are done to us.

Here's the trailer. The movie is far better, and far deeper, than these few minutes indicate. I'll write a bit more on this, strength permitting, later this week.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 336 - God's Lighthouse {FMF}

OK, no punches pulled...it's just getting so absurdly bad here...way beyond what I thought I could deal with.

And it just keeps going.

Part of the night is spent curled in a ball, trying not to scream too loudly. Barb has to go to work, after all.

And the morning brings no relief, just a blur of pain and necessary movement, and sluping down when I have to, staring at nothing until I pass out and fall over.

Big bruise on the forehead. Fell over the wrong way.

Oh, and this is written ahead of time for Five Minute Friday. I'll try to add in this week's keyword when available. (The word is COMFORT. It's there.)

You've got to ask...is this worth it? Is facing this doomed last stand every single day worth the pain and the humiliation of blood and urine and other stuff, and the endless exhausting cleanup?

Is it worth going down this ever-narrowing tunnel, feeling the rough and nasty walls scraping my shoulders?

Yes. It is.

It's worth it for the love in my life, for the chance to bear witness that life can still be good when it seems so bad, for the desert sunrises and the Milky Way at midnight, turning slowly overhead.

But absent these, it would still be worth it, because this is the fight I was born to face.

This is the enemy that has chosen me...and I, in return, choose him, in a fight that can have no quarter.

There is a n appropriateness here, something of a comfort.

This is where I get to play the man, after Hugh Latimer's immortal words...just before he and his friend Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake for heresy:

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.


I, too, want to ignite a flame that will not go out...and that by God's grace I can show through deed and word that God's Grace extends over these Alamo walls, and down into the pit of pain, the slough of despond. 

I want to tell the world that even absent the love and comfort with which I'm blessed, I would still have Love and Comfort that can never be extinguished, however dark the night.

And night is coming, the night that will know no earthly dawn for me. This place on the Internet will go dark, and my footsteps and voice will become a memory.

But the light will shine all the more brightly, because in the end, what I have realized is that I, along with Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, and the fuel for God's lighthouse.

That lighthouse that promises and delivers so much...eternal grace, eternal life, eternal love...can only be fully seen here through the lens of pain that is transfigured by faith.

So bring it, and may my passing become a lamp unto your feet.

So...what's the musical theme to be? Something to do with light, perhaps?

Nah. Need some disco, so here's Laura Brannigan...


You may be interested in another view of this, from Kara Tippetts, on Mundane Faithfulness. I left a comment there...kind of my manifesto.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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, July 11, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 335 - Run For Your Life

Well, this was supposed to be a post about the importance of exercise to both a caregiver and a terminally ill patient...

But I'm not up to writing that. I'm sorry.

Instead, it's perhaps appropriate for the caregiver to consider this...that your dying spouse is actually running for his or her life, using mental techniques and sometimes physical ones to keep the reality of dying at bay.

It's easy to dismiss this as denial, but I think there's something deeper involved...the desire to leap over that wall of one's own death and to continue living in the world.

For the unbeliever, I suppose it's a desperate grab at immortality...but believers do this, too.

I think it' more about not wanting to say goodbye. I know that's true for me.

As the caregiver, what should you do? If you go along with this kind of thing, are you enabling a fantasy? Are you making it easier to shy away from the end-of-life decisions and stock-taking that really need to be made?

Yes and yes. And it's something you should do. (Within limits...if the 'planning for a future that ain't gonna happen' involves large expenditures of money or the making of plans that can never be implemented, yeah, don't go along with that!)

But the point is that death's going to come, regardless...and personally (and selfishly) I have no desire to go through my books and tools and portion them out to appropriate recipients.

I should do it, I know...but it's going to get me really, really depressed (kind of depressed writing about it!), and I think that might be worse for Barbara than leaving her holding the baby, so to speak.

So I'll continue, as strength permits, to build parts for an aeroplane I'll never finish, let alone fly...and I'll plan to see the next Avengers movie when it comes out...and the one after that.

So now, let's change the mood...here's Boy George and Culture Club to the rescue!


Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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, July 9, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 334 - Jesus Calling

This is the evening of Sunday, July 9, 2017

Yesterday, Saturday the eighth, Jesus dropped by.

I was in really bad shape, alternating between unconsciousness and shrieking in pain, and during one of the interludes I remember (most of the day's lost), Jesus stopped by.

First He gave me a cold bottle of water. I can't tell you how it tasted...I know it's supposed to be the best water eer, but all I can remember is that it was water. Sorry.

Then He told me He admired the smooth transition I made from hardass to dumbass. His words.

And finally, He asked me just who I was still trying to impress.

And that was the end of the interview.

It's tempting to insert commentary here, to give this all a context and framework, but it wouldn't be honest.

This was just Jesus, my friend, stopping by to give me some water and a hard time.


Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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, July 6, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 333 - From Humiliation To Hope {FMF}

Well, the last eighteen hours or so go into the books as some of the most painful and humiliating in my life. Didn't realize just how much illness could take, in terms of control of the body. (I won't be too specific, but I won't be coy.)

Never wanted to realize it, and darn sure didn't want my wife to see it. I don't want her to think of me that way.

I don't want to think of me that way, either.

(This is written ahead for Five Minute Friday, and I will try to include this week's keyword when it's announced.)

The FMF word is PLAY.

But, as is usually the case, God was waiting behind Door # 1 (and Door #2, get it??) with a lessons learned folder, just for me.

After the lengthy cleanup or surroundings and self, I was exhausted, and weak as the proverbial kitten.

But I felt good.

There was no spring in my step, but there was a lightness of heart that I had not felt in a long time. That's odd, because these events that steal one's self-respect are normally attended by depression, both from the physical discomfort and the shame that it's past the point where not even Depends would make a public outing a good idea.

So why the joy?

Because I felt clean.

The ordeal was behind me, at least for now; skin was cool and my and clothing smelled of new soap and detergent, and a really nice fabric softener. It lay loosely against me, and a fan stirred a gentle breeze past my face.

If felt good just to enjoy that washed and fresh feeling. Not to compare it with anything, just to be there in the moment, and let quiet stirrings of hope lift the corners of my heart, and lift the corners of my mouth in a smile.

My prospects didn't change, but my outlook did.

And I wonder...did Jesus feel this way when He started taking off the tomb-wrappings? Did He occasionally just stretch out His arms for the sheer joy of stretching them, treasuring the moment?

And is this how we all will feel when we look first time and forever into His Face, as He welcomes us home?

Clean.

Washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

You may have noticed that I m slower in replying to comments, and sometimes don't make it back to your site...I am sorry for that, but I've lost a lot of energy lately. I do ask for your patience, and please now that I treasure your comments.

And the FMF word? I guess this situation is a challenge to live the words of Hugh Latimer:

"Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Let's call in The Hooters for a musical theme, with the high-energy and fun And We Danced.



Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

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.