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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 32 - Broken But Loved

"I hate my life!"

How many times have you heard that, either in real life, or on TV or at the movies?

Usually the person saying it is a discontented teenager with privileges out the wazoo, but because one thing goes wrong - usually it;s looks or romance - life is something to be hated.

And if your mate's dying, you may well say to yourself..."YOU hate your life? Wanna trade?"

And the person you love, who is dying, might even more be expected to partake of that sentiment.

What we're really saying, though, hating our lives, is that a part of that life...granted, an important part...is broken.

It looks like it can't be fixed, so we want to scrap the whole thing. Kind of like the person whose pride in his new car is ruined by the first scratch...and afterwards, he doesn't care and stops taking care of the thing. (Nothing wrong with pride in a new car, in case you were wondering...remember, if you're a Christian, that is Luke 5:39 Jesus says that no one would want new wine after drinking old wine...new and old are kind of reversed here, but you get my drift...I hope.)

Where were we, after having the wine? Oh, right. Cars.

The problem is that brokenness spoils our concept, and our perception of perfection. We want a perfect life (and advertisers pay good money to convince us to want one). So when our lives break, either in our own bodies or in having to suddenly care for someone who's dying, there's a part of us that hates it, and hates the life that it colours.

(For what follows, please understand that I am a Christian, but this would apply for a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Hindu as well (I've read the Qu'ran and the Gita, so I feel OK saying that).

Hating is understandable. Understandable, but wrong, because we are broken.

We fall way short of what we're supposed to be, every day. We claim holiness, but the next minute we're down in the mud, and a part of us is reveling in it.

We profess faith, but when things go wrong we wonder if God actually hates us...or if He's merely disinterested...or if He's even there.

We're broken, but however far we fall, He loves us anyway. "For God so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son..."

Not "the part of the world that's doing OK". The World. The whole enchilada.

And that, writ large, is what we're supposed to do. Love our lives.

We're not supposed to love everything in it. I mean, awhile back I heard someone say that her father's terminal cancer was the best thing that ever happened to her family.

Sorry, but that's a stupid thing to say. You don't love cancer. You just don't.

But you can love the opportunities that cancer gives you. You can love the clarity of appreciation, that you don't walk by the delicate blooming flower, or the shy smile of a child, without a glance.

You can love much of the rest of your life. Or just a little, if things are really horrible.

But love something, even if it's broken.

Because God loves you.

Even if you're broken.


  1. Amen. I don't think I've uttered the 'I hate my life' line since I was 14 and my mom wouldn't take me skating. I know I'm privileged and I'm profoundly grateful for every blessing--the bad stuff in life (like cancer) is what makes me stronger and appreciate life and the gifts I've been given even more.

    1. I did it a lot, too, until some profound experiences really got my head put on straight.

      I love my life. Period. I would not trade with anyone.

      And...thanks for being here!

  2. Beautifully said, Andrew. I think the moment I began to embrace my "brokenness" was the moment God really began to do a great work in me. I like the concept of how a mosaic or stained glass window is made more beautiful by the assortment of colored pieces it's made from. I think that's true with our broken lives. God uses them to make us more beautiful to others. I'm so grateful for the beauty He is creating out of the hurts and losses you've experienced as well, my friend. It seems to me that we, your readers, are the ones who get most of the benefit of that beauty from your brokenness. So for that, I thank you and your wife for being our guides into gracious living and loving in the land of the dying.

    1. I love the mosaic analogy as well...though it brings to mind one that was made of shards of old beer bottles!

      I'm getting quite a bit, too - being able to write this through, and hold out a hand to others, validates the years and efforts that I once thought wasted. It was all to a purpose, a hard one to be sure, but Jesus never gave us the option to push the "easy" button.

      Thank you so much for being here, Beth. Your comments mean a lot; more than you know.

  3. embracing brokenness is so un-American isn't it? but it is at the heart of being a christian. we are saying we can't do it. we don't have what it takes to stand b/f a holy GOD. we need Him to intervene.

    it is also what we need in the everyday when our frail resources fall short and we must come to this limitless GOD for strength or help in time of need. once again, He can provides.

    despite hating to acknowledge our frailty, it really is a good thing for us to be aware of our brokenness in so many areas. thanks for your post today:)

    1. You're right, it is something that most Americans don't want to relate to.

      And we need it. We need HIM.

      Thank you for being here today; I appreciate your presence, and your taking the time to comment!

  4. all I can say, friend, is that your writing is getting better and better. can't wait for the book ...


    1. Wow, thanks, Linda!

      You have been in my prayers; not every day. Every hour.

  5. And, all I can say, Andrew, is thank you for your words...I know I have been focusing on the wrong thing here in my situation. I AM BROKEN; and God is the only one who can "fix" broken! I AM a Christian; but I don't always ACT like one...I may write touching comments to others' blog posts; I may THINK I am saying the right words, but I don't FEEL I am. I have cried out to God so many times in the past couple of weeks (well, that is not the ONLY time; but the "current" issues with my health).

    Your words here have hit a spot for me - (Have to copy your words to "get it right"):

    "We fall way short of what we're supposed to be, every day. We claim holiness, but the next minute we're down in the mud, and a part of us is reveling in it.

    "We profess faith, but when things go wrong we wonder if God actually hates us...or if He's merely disinterested...or if He's even there.

    "We're broken, but however far we fall, He loves us anyway."

    Yes, to your words I will add: AMEN! And thank you, Andrew and Barb, for the example of God's love in a care-giver and a care-receiver...you are both still in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. You may be broken - we all are. But you're also very brave, and I treasure the comments you make here (as well as your blog). You're living the dream...God's dream, of a woman who reflects His love to the world.

      Remember that even a cracked mirror still reflects...that thought gives me a LOT of comfort! :)

      And thank you so much for the prayers. These are hard days.

  6. I'm so grateful that God specializes in loving the broken. Where would any of us be without it? Thanks for your beautiful words, Andrew!

    1. Holly, thank you so much...where would we be, if He didn't love the broken?

      Let's don't go there...literally!

  7. "But love something, even if it's broken."
    You nail it again and again, Andrew. This is spot-on. We won't reach perfect here, in anything. One of our important lessons is to learn to be content in the imperfect. Keep teaching us, brother.

    1. Lisa, thank you so much for this...I will be here, as long as I can stay upright long enough to type. It is getting harder, but God will make my path smooth.

      And he has given me so many friends to light my way with their luminous hearts, filled with His love!

      It's hard, and it's scary, and it hurts beyond anything I could have imagined...but I would not trade the privilege of being here, in this severe grace.

  8. But love something, even if it's broken. That line...wow! Beautiful, Andrew.