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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 265 - What We Value

This will be a short post, and I'm sorry. The situation worsens, and I can barely use my arms and hands, and I have a broken ankle.

Added to this some really bad memories suddenly resurfacing, and the sudden death of a beloved member of the canine family...Indie, an Aussie Barb had known literally from his birth.

So I am lacking heart and strength to write much, but I was thinking about a question, and would love your thoughts:

How much love and effort do we freely give to stuff that can never love us back?

By this I mean crafts and hobbies and writing and philosophy and physical fitness and...well, you can add to the list.

These things aren't bad in themselves, and can refine the love we have for others by making us happier and more well-rounded, but so often - as I have done - we carry them to extremes.

And we leave behind the love we might have had, the friendships that might have sustained us, and the acceptance of our place in a mutual embrace that may have made us more human.

I'd love to hear what you think.

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.


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  1. Hmmm . . .funny you should ask. I'm in a season of assessment as well, looking at the things I give my time to, trading my life's minutes for the goals I meet each day. It may be that nothing changes as a result, but I just want to be sure.

    So sorry to hear about that ankle. Seems like one thing too many.

    1. Michele, those assessments can be so valuable...especially when they give the reassurance that we're on the right course.

      The ankle did indeed feel like one thing too many, but I suppose there is a valuable lesson in there somewhere.

      Thanks so much for being here.

  2. Oh my, Andrew! You'd told me about the broken ankle/leg in an email and I've been so busy I haven't replied yet. But didn't know all these other trials and losses were going on, my friend! You know I always pray for you (daily, I might add) so now I'm adding more prayers for your health, your ability to heal from these memories resurfacing and for Barbara's poor and grieving heart as well. When it rains it pours, I suppose!

    And speaking of pouring, yes, I do think it's important to pour our energies into loving others instead of loving our hobbies or interests. But, in my case, part of the way I love is through my blog--so it is a hobby of sorts. I think of it as a ministry, though. But sometimes I must choose time with my family and up close and personal friends. It is a delicate balance to be sure! Thanks for always pointing us in the right direction, my friend. Prayers and hugs are being sent your way!

    1. Thank you so much for the additional prayers, Beth. They're needed. Days are really tough right now.

      Part of the way I love - and, indeed, a large part of how I interact - is through my blog as well. It's sometimes even the best way I can express love for Barbara, through describing her here.

      Hugs back!

  3. I suppose we will never know the answer and the question or thought is unanswerable. I think of the ascetics in times past who gave up all creature comforts including warmth of hearth and home, who endured outward forms of suffering and were immersed in acts of penitence. I've offened wondered why they couldn't, simply, enjoy the spirituality and the blessings of good things to be had in life. But the truth is, maybe they did find a richness by living fully in a different way that the rest of us will never fathom . Maybe there was an inward beauty found in having everything stripped away and then being only left with God and His inward presence. God loved them back, it's true. Other than that, they had little that gave them love back (I suppose). Such a lovely introspective thought. It's in the how, not the what. It's in the Who, not the why. There is always room for change and refocus.
    Sorry your physical suffering has increased. Sorry for your loss. Sorry for the emotional purging of memories. These are all too much. Glad you have One to help shoulder them with you. I don't understand.why you have to suffer so much. Still praying. God bless.

    1. I love this, Norma...a brilliant meditation on the ascetics. Thank you so much for bringing it to the conversation.

      I really appreciate the sympathy and the prayers. Things are kind of awful at present.

  4. So sorry to hear about the loss of Indie; and of your ankle and other problems you are currently having...so much on you, my friend! I pray things will ease up for you!!

    As for your question...I guess I'd have to admit to pouring a lot into my crafts/hobbie or whatever because I do put a lot into it...time and finances. But, it does keep me sane and happy and gives me some time alone, or away from home, to spend with others and create. And, some I keep for myself; many I create to do swaps, or send out as Random Acts of Kindness, or share in other ways.

    Sending hugs and prayers for you and Barb...

    1. Barbara, thanks so much. I miss Indie terribly; more than I thought I would.

      You're absolutely right about the upside of our chosen activities; they do indeed keep us sane and human. And that share what you make is wonderful.

      Prayers are really appreciated. Hugs and prayers back!

  5. I am so sorry you are going through this. My prayers are for you and Barbara to experience peace and strength. An interesting question you present. It is true that hobbies and material things can tip the scales when placed with people (and pets). I find it is a delicate balance and I falter often. Material things can bring satisfaction that can be mistaken for love. At least it is a different kind of love. We must be aware constantly that love also can hurt. If I ignore my craft it will not suffer. If I ignore people, they will. "Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Blessings my friend.

    1. Mary, you said this so well...that our activities are a different kind of love. Thank you for this addition!

      And yes, an ignored hobby won't care; an ignored person will be hurt. I've done this far too often in my life.

      Thank you so much for they prayers. We truly appreciate them.

  6. Andrew, such a good question. It's one that I've been thinking about, praying about. Trying to find the balance. And, honestly, I'm not sure I've found it. We do need to be careful to not place hobbies, self-filling activities over loving people. There's a balance between filling ourselves/our spirits and loving well those who people our lives.

    In the season I'm in, a lot of me is poured out into my family, caring for our children, my husband, our home. Keeping up with all the appointments and what not. I find that I am refilled through spending time with God, through writing, and through photography. However, real life must trump writing (etc) life. If I let writing life take a higher priority, I am out of the will of God, because He's given me my family, and placed me in a role of caring for them.

    God's also given me a love for writing. I see my blogging as a ministry. And I pray my books will also one day minister to readers. They don't happen without a commitment of time. At least, not until the mere thoughts in my head can somehow automatically be recorded into my laptop. :) But, again, my first ministry is to my family. So, I seek to love them well. Any other ministry must come after them.

    Sorry for the convoluted, long answer. I guess I was just "thinking out loud" here.

    I'm continuing to pray for you my friend.

    1. Jeanne, your blogging and writing is definitely a ministry, and a way to show Christ's heart to the world.

      You're so right that the balance can be hard to find, and that we have to really look at what God has given us, the lives and hopes placed in our care...and we have to include our own lives in that calculus, which can be pretty hard.

      I think this is one place where comparison may be a good thing, at least a hypothetical one...if I saw a friend spending as much time as I do on hobbies, say, would I upbraid him, or urge him to spend more time, in the interest of self-care? Love our neighbour AS ourselves, after all.

      Loved this comment, my friend, and I really appreciate the prayers.

  7. One of my college professors taught us this definition of love: When the happiness and well-being of another is essential to one's own happiness and well-being a state of love exists. You can't love things or hobbies, but you can certainly love dogs. I'm sorry for your loss of Indie, and for all your physical pain. You know I pray for you every day.

    1. Jan, that definition is just perfect. Thank you so much for sharing it!

      And thank you for your prayers. It has been, and continues to be, an awfully tough week.

  8. I'm sorry for your pain and worsening symptoms. Thank you for continuing to write for us all, even through your suffering.

    You raise good questions! Yes, we do waste time loving things when we should be loving people. Other things we might waste our love on include food, television, money, houses, etc.

    My "one word" for the year is love. This year I want to grow in my love for God and my love for others. Your post has given me good things to think about!

    1. Rachel, thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts.

      You're right about the other things on which we waste love...I've seen so much effort go into some of these! And put my own in, as well.

      'Love' is a great word. Thank you for sharing it!

      Praying for you always, my friend.

  9. How in the world did you break your ankle? Q. There are things I do just because I like to. There are things I do for people I love. There are things I do because God told me to. I try to be very careful where and how I spend me time - although I don't want to be legalistic and dogmatic either. Balance is my key. Did you get my email?

  10. As I read this, I was thinking "I really don't," and I don't believe I "love" any tangible thing or action in the way you are asking about. My loves:
    Theatre: which dropped by the wayside when my job changed.
    Music: which has become listening and singing only for the years since I sold my piano.
    Yoga: I bend my yoga time around the scheduled events of my life.
    ...clearly I don't value these loves more than I do people.

    But when I got to your real point: What draws us away from the possibilities and connections before us? It's not a love, but a longing. A longing for the next best thing. We moved overseas, awesome. Things aren't perfect and instead of connecting here and building friendships, I'm strengthening other overseas friendships in the hopes of building a future connection in a new place. Why not be happy where I am?

    ...this was an enlightening post. Enlightening into myself.