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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Your DYing Spouse 308 - On Being The Miracle

OK, I will admit it now - I spend large parts of the day curled up in a foetal position on the floor, using an empty 2-liter soda bottle as a pillow (it's the right size, and quite pleasant).

Why the floor? I have an aversion to taking to bed in the middle of the day. It gets uncomfortably close to 'bedridden'.

And I jut wait for the pain to subside. There's not much to think about, neither regrets from the past or hopes and fears for the future.

The TV is on (religious programmes only!).

I'm sitting with the pain. It's all I can do.

Of such things do miracles arise.

The miracle lies in understanding pain as neither an enemy nor a 'friend'...yeah, there are people who take Look At The Bright Side a feet feet too far.

Pain is a tool, or perhaps more accurately a vehicle that offers a journey of understanding.

Part of me wants to say, "So what's to understand? It hurts!" Well, yes.

But once there's the acceptance that it dies hurt, and it's going to hurt, there are some paths worth taking.

  • The first thing is the knowledge that pain is, and you can't really escape it. Drugs may offer relief, but it's temporary and comes with a price. Opiate withdrawal is a terrible thing to experience, and it can be necessary when the doses required to the control the pain rise too high for safety. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. So you're left with the elephant in the room, the pain. And you can learn to cope, at least to some degree. I have learned to 'breathe' around it, and to use body positioning and a kind of meditation to hold it in check. It's not perfect, and sometimes doesn't work well, but it is at least a continual challenge, and that has to be good for me!
  • Pain offers insights into one's own behaviour. When I'm hurting, like most people, I get snappish, and on recognizing that can work to at least mitigate the effect. For me, this means adopting an almost elaborate courtesy that is, perhaps irritatingly, magnified when I go through periods of 'less' pain. And there has been another effect - I use a lot less bad language. Used to be, my words could strip paint, but these days I have to avoid anything that leads to harshness, and so I have, for the most part, cleaned up my act.
  • Pain makes time more precious, because it has a way of stretching out the worst hours. You look at the clock, and then again three hours later to find that only five minutes have passed. So I don't waste relatively-good-feeling-time. I'm not hesitant to drop a book that loses my interest, or to skip a movie that I should see but that I find depressing. Life's really too short.
  • Most importantly, pain begets compassion. I wouldn't want anyone to walk this road, and for those who do, I feel a deep sense of empathy. Does it do them any good? Well, there are those who say that adding to the good energy in Creation is always a good and healing thing...and we can all use a little healing.
So I get to be the miracle, I guess.

The miracle of a better me.

And here's the musical theme...perhaps a bit wistful, but I like it.

We;re linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please visit Beth's site for some superb marriage resources.

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.


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.


  1. You have such a healthy perspective. Dealing with life as best you can.

    1. Red, thank you so much for this...and for being here.

  2. So many rich insights here about pain, Andrew. I have had bouts with intense pain (my shingles for example), so I totally get the point about time being extended and utilizing the "less pain filled" moments to their greatest extent. But I haven't lived in the kind of chronic and intense pain you've lived in. It certainly has taught you compassion--that's been evident here! And I also can see that it has changed you for the better, not just in your language, but in the way you respond to others. I've even felt it here in the blogosphere, so I'm sure it has translated to your wife, Barbara. I'm so glad you've allowed pain to shape and mold you into a better and stronger man--though you formerly were both of those. Thanks for sharing these truths, my friend. And keep on fighting the good fight!

    1. Beth, thank you so much for this lovely affirmation...I will treasure your words for the time I have to come.

      Compassion is truly the greatest gift I have received from this experience, and I would never trade it away, even for a restoration of my old life. It's too precious, to be finally learning how to love.

      Thank you so much, Beth, for your prayers, and your friendship.

  3. Great thoughts, Andrew! I love your perspective of not welcoming pain as a "friend" but seeking to learn from it and draw good from it. I have more experience with emotional pain than physical but I think it's probably true in both cases that pain changes us, but we have a choice about how it changes us. I love that you're letting it change you in a good way- growing in compassion and empathy and valuing the moments when things are slightly better. I wish you didn't have to go through all this, but I can see it is working good things in you!

    1. Thank you so much for this, Lesley. Physical and emotional pain are analogues of one another, and you're absolutely right - we do have a choice in how we may be changed.

      The pain's unpleasant - and today, scarier than ever - but I would not trade away the perspective I have gained. It's been worth it.

  4. Your writing keeps getting better. Through the pain, in the midst of feeling uncomfortable you reach even farther and share your emotions, feelings and what it's like to go through near death conditions. Thank you for being you and keeping us in touch with everything you are going through.

    1. Mary, thank you so much for this lovely affirmation; your comment really means the world to me, and inspires me to keep going.