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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 318 - Pain, Glory, and Rugby {FMF}

Oh, how I wish I could banish the pain!

Well, not really.

(We're here with Five Minute Friday, and as usual I have to write ahead of the keyword reveal, but I'll include the word if I can...later.) (It's FUTURE, and I worked it in.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Masochism. Bring the pain, I love it.

Well, not really that, either.

It's severe enough now (and coupled with fatigue) to keep me flat to the floor for long hours. Getting up to write and comment is becoming difficult. Sitting up to watch a DVD is difficult.

It's a 'nasty' pain, like an infection, or a very bad bruise, not a nicely satisfying discomfort like you get from exercise...the 'feel the burn' thing so beloved of Nike and Reebok commercials. (Oh, you think that's baloney, too?)

Anyway, pain hurts, and the conventional wisdom is that we should do what we can to alleviate it. But I don't want to.

Not because it's fun, but because it's leading me to understand something. I have to work my mind around a mass of pain that is both solid and dynamic; I can't escape it, but I can train my body and mind to react in a way that allows me to keep functioning (sort of), and to keep thinking clearly (mostly).

And I can identify, just a bit, with the Saviour who endured agony for me. For me, personally.

That is the main thing pain has taught, and I stand in deep gratitude, even though pain is my future.

For salvation by Jesus' paying my debt of sin - inherited and gleefully practiced by yours truly in his worse moments - that atonement can be nothing else but personal, because I'm not 'one of the mass'. There's no connexion between me and any other person, that links us in some kind of Vulcan mind-meld.

I'm an individual - and I own my sin, and Jesus' owns the payment of my debt.

And He chose to own the pain that went with it.

So I want to own this pain. Not to think I'm evening the score, but to gain some appreciation that the scourging and the walk up the Via Dolorosa and the Crucifixion were made all the harder, because He was carrying me on His back.

And how does rugby come into all this?

Well, I figure that Jesus plays rugby, and when I get to Heaven, I'm thinking I'm gonna find out just how hard the dude tackles.

It's going to be fun.

And it's gonna hurt.

The good kind of pain!

 (All of the above is quite aside from the fact that every pain med I've tried had side-effects that were eventually worse than the pain itself.)

And for some reason, I think the best musical accompaniment is Kenny Chesney's Young. What do you think?



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.












52 comments:

  1. Ahhhh, Andrew. Perspective. Again. Your perspective is refreshing and real. Your reason for wanting to own the pain is a brave kind of growth. I must admit, in my younger years, I did everything I could to avoid any kind of pain. I know. Crazy thinking. Who can really do that?!

    But, as I suspect you have, I have learned that some lessons are only learned as we walk through pain. Sometimes we are the most intimate with God when the pain is what drives us to Him. Pain has value and purpose. I still don't invite it into my life, but I'm learning to lean into it rather than avoid it.

    And I never thought about Jesus as a rugby player, but yeah, I think I can see that. Can you imagine how big His laugh will be as He holds out a hand after that tackle? :)

    Praying for you, my friend.

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    1. Jeanne, trying to avoid pain isn't crazy...it's smart, because pain is the body's way of letting you know it needs a chance to heal.

      But I won't heal in this life, so the paradigm has changed. May as well learn what I can (and I'm avoiding something, too...the side effects of pain meds, which for me go from bad to dreadful.)

      Love your image of Jesus holding out His hand after a tackle, and thank you so much for the prayers!

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  2. "Jesus owns the payment of my debt." WHEW! Andrew, that's powerful and that's what I'm sitting with tonight. Have a great weekend, my friend.

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    1. Carolina, you just made my day! Thank you for this lovely affirmation. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

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  3. Tweeted out some of your post and the link to this. It is a wonderful post. Do you realize you almost have a full year 365 posts about "Your Dying Spouse?" You are not going down without a fight.

    My aunt is returning home this weekend from MN to ND. She just did her second round of cancer treatments due to a re-occurrence. I guess she rang a bell in the hospital hall yesterday to signify the end of her treatments. I guess we'll all ring a bell of sorts when we enter the heavenly gates. I really like your analogy of Jesus being an athlete. I will picture that more too now.
    Jenn, FMF

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    1. Jenn, I'll keep your aunt - and you - in my prayers. Ringing the bell is a great way to signal the end of an arduous path.

      Definitely going down fighting. It's all I know how to do, which can be a bit hard for those in my presence. I HAVE to get off the floor, and do what I can around the house...and I now it hurts to watch. And it's close to that year of posts. It's been suggested that I cast this in terms of a devotional. If I have the energy!

      Thanks so much for being here!

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  4. Andrew! I LOVE your words this week (well every week really) but embracing the pain? That's a lesson I'm learning as well though what we've faced is not near as difficult as death. One of the speakers last week at the conference I attended with my oldest son spoke of embracing rather than enduring...OUCH! But it was what I needed to hear.

    My youngest son, hates taking pain medication. He's had multiple surgeries to repair his cleft palate/lip and has never taken a dose of the heavy duty stuff once he leaves the hospital. He doesn't like the way it makes him feel.

    Your post reminded me of this hymn we sang when we were in the church of Christ. I do miss the acapella singing, the harmonies are beautiful.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opgFgY4rnU4

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    1. Christy, thank you so much! And being led to embrace rather than endure can be pretty painful. Not just at the beginning...or maybe each day of embracing is a new beginning? I'm not sure.

      I so understand your younger boy's aversion to the heavy pain meds. The do really bad things to me, and with PTSD, they are really a bad idea.

      Thank you so much for the Youtube link, going there now!

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  5. Praying for you right now. - Sarah

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    1. Sarah, thank you so much for the prayers...truly. They are appreciated, and very much needed. bad days here.

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  6. Oh yes, REAL MEN PLAY RUGBY. On fields of gold in heaven. It's hard for me to comment on the angst of your words because, well because. (((xo))) to you and B.

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    1. Susan, yes indeed, we shall engage in 'that game of hooligans, played by gentlemen' in Heaven, on those fields of gold...which may be kind of hard on the knees, when I think about it...

      (Football, of course, is a game of gentlemen played by hooligans. Soccer, I mean.)

      (((xo))) is sure appreciated; these have been terribly hard days. And xoxoWaggyWaggyWOOF! right back!

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  7. You'll never know this side of Heaven how your posts influence the future. You should probably print them all out because technology keeps changing and people won't be able to see them in a few years.

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    1. Jan, thank you so much...and you're right, I do need to get these preserved. I'm pretty much at the limit with just maintaining the pace, so God will have to intervene.

      Thanks so much for being here!

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  8. I felt the same way when I faced back surgery. This pain was nothing like the pain Jesus suffered for me. For me! It got me through it. And i still remember that whenever I have the slightest discomfort. Peace brother.

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    1. Nomad, thank you so much for sharing this...and that realization that His pain was and is a personal gift, for us individually...it's a game-changer.

      Peace and blessings!

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  9. i loved your post today andrew. i had to laugh when i read the rugby part:) i wrote a little about heaven today too:) i'm at 51 today if you can make it over there. if not, blessings as you endure the pain:(

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    1. Martha, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I loved your post, too!

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  10. Thank you for continuing to share all that you're learning, Andrew. I love your insight about the pain helping you appreciate what Jesus went through. And the image of him tackling you at rugby made me smile!

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    1. Lesley, I'm delighted that you're here, and so grateful for your kind and gracious words. And so glad you enjoyed the rugby imagery!

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  11. Hey ANdrew, thank you for being real and sharing and I love Marley and so glad we made a difference amen!! YOu know South Africa is a huge rugby nation, I'm pretty sure a lot of people here believe in rugby in heaven, :)))) I pray Abba's blessings of love, peace and healing as Yahweh_rapha today, His love and Grace! PLease God! Amen, Aliyah ***

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    1. Aliyah, thank you so much! The difference that we made for Marley is just so cool. I enjoy that every day, that kind of win.

      I do know about South Africa's love for rugby...my brother lived there, and I was fairly fluent in both Afrikaans and Zulu. o yes...there is definitely rugby in Heaven, for how else could it be called Heaven?

      Your prayers are so appreciated...and needed. These are tough days.

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  12. Wow. Another humbling display of how God is working even in your pain. Last Sunday, I taught my first grade class about Heaven. Really daunting task and I definitely didn't not exhaust the topic, but the only thing I wanted them to grasp (if nothing else) was the reason Heaven was so worth every pain... we get to SEE Him!! That. THAT will be worth every second of everything. I love how God weaves "future" right in with Sunday School lessons. :)

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    1. Ruth, you've got it exactly right...the big thing about Heaven is finally getting to see Him, and NEVER having to turn your eyes away.

      Always did look forward to playing the harp, too...unless I get upgraded to the bagpipes!

      So glad we have someone like you teaching the little ones about God. The future's in good hands!

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  13. Andrew, you post is encouraging and gives one a lot to ponder. Embracing pain...that is not my natural inclination. I want to run and hide from it. But as I look back, it's the painful times that brought me closer to God so really I guess we should embrace the pain.

    Thanks for taking the time to write another thought provoking entry. I can't wait to see all the glorious surprises awaiting us in heaven! Maybe I'll sit and watch you and Jesus play a game of rugby. But I plan on going horseback riding with him - racing him through the lush meadows and forests and then along the seaside. :-)

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    1. Sue, it's not a bad thing to run from pain. I did until I couldn't, and found meaning in accepting the embrace. But pain is generally the way God has our bodies tell us that they need to heal, and that we need to listen.

      For me, healing's not likely to happen, and the medications' effects are so nasty, that embracing the pain is the better option. It does teach a lot, and I am grateful, but it's hard for those in my presence to watch.

      Can I come along on one of the rides? I used to ride a lot, hunters/jumpers, and loved it.

      Thanks so much for being here!

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  14. Hi Andrew! Thanks for your brave words. Embracing pain, whether emotional or physical is not an easy choice. But I'm so glad that God uses pain as a tool to lead us back to His side in so many ways! Praying for you!

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    1. Amy, you're so right...it's a hard choice! And there are times I would give my right arm (I'm ambidextrous, ha!) for morphine. But that stuff messes with my head so badly that embracing the pain comes out as the better option.

      And He does use it as a tool. Like a scalpel, sometimes. Ouch.

      Thank you so much for the prayers!

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  15. I wrote about Hebrews 12:2. You were certainly in his joy-filled mind as he endured the cross. May God's grace continue to deepen your faith as you connect your very real pain with the Savior's sacrifice on your behalf.

    Praying for you.

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    1. Cheryl, Hebrews 12:2 is the perfect Scripture for this; thank you!

      Since I wrote this, things have gotten measurably worse - it's very hard to type tonight - but my faith is measurably deeper. I'd call that a win!

      Thank you so much for the prayers!

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  16. Knowing that our Savior endure the cross while looking at us in the future and knowing we would need it, it does make the pain a bit easier to bear. And one day, the pain will be gone and we will see Him face to face!

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    1. Carol, it was a real paradigm shift for me, when I realized it, that He saw our future sin...and paid the debt without flinching.

      And yes, one day the pain will be gone, and we'll be with HIM! Yay!

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  17. Thank you Andrew for so honestly sharing your perspectives on dying. "Future" would seem to be a challenging prompt for you but you manage to weave in your present moments into the implications of the future. It's a whammy! We live in a culture that detests pain of any sort. Yet, as you point out, we are connected more vividly to Christ's sacrifice when our bodies scream of brokenness. Certainly, pain relief is not to be pushed away but the connection to Christ's humanity cannot be diminished either.

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    1. Stephanie, thank you for this lovely and thoughtful comment. You're so right, that our culture encourages us to shy away from all discomfort (let alone pain), except for the 'no pain no gain' types who've wandered off in the opposite direction!

      Pain relief can be important - it is, after all, God's design that our bodies inform us through pain that they need to heal, and extreme pain can interfere with that - but pain relief can't be an end in itself.

      Thank you so much for this!

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  18. Andrew,
    Pain may be in your present and future, but your eternal future has NO pain in it! Praying still. Won't stop. Love the music. Yeah, we were young, just yesterday, wasn't it? #74 this week.

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    1. mary, thank you for this reassurance (it's hard for me to see sometimes, in my life), and most especially for the prayers.

      And I'm so glad you like the song! :)

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  19. And here I am, complaining when I get a tiny headache. I am a baby about pain. I cannot imagine... or rather, I can only imagine, what you are going through. I tried imagining, when I watched The Passion, what Christ went through.

    Your strength in not filling with despair is inspiring.

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    1. Red, pain has different thresholds in different people. I never get headaches, and what you experience might put me straight to the floor, on detour.

      Watching The Passion is a yearly thing for us, and barb has told me that it's hard for her to see, because she lives with watching that level of pain every day. (And, often, that much blood, as I pass a lot.) Made me think, she did.

      I'm just so glad you're here today. Your affirmation gives me the strength to continue.

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  20. Andrew, simply amazing.
    I've been wondering something about you. What was it about Jesus that gave you the faith to believe in Him? Answer only if you wish and can.

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    1. Norma, thank you...and that is an excellent question...what is it about Jesus that gave - and gives - me the faith to believe?

      I'm in bad shape right now, so the answer will be brief, but it's basically this, that He attracted followers who were like me. Rough individuals who were a bit too hard for societal acceptance found that they had a place with Him, and so it was for me.

      I'm not proud of what I was or am (though I do not denigrate it), but I do know that being one of the 'rough men who stand ready in the night to do violence' on behalf of those who sleep peacefully does leave a mark. It's a calling and it's a scourge.

      And Jesus accepted that mark, and took it to His Heart. I am amazed.

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  21. Your courage and tenacity is so very encouraging, Andrew! Praying for you, friend <3

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    1. Mandy, dear friend, thank you so much! I truly, and deeply appreciate - and, today, need - the prayers! <3

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  22. Sorry I only get by once a week. You've been a sticky note in my bible to pray for you every day. Loved your words today and agree with another comment. Print these out. See ya next week.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm so grateful to see you here...and thank you, I will definitely try to get these saved.

      I so appreciate the prayers. They are the wind beneath my wings.

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  23. Blessings to you, Andrew. A different way to look at pain and a needed reminder for us all. Jesus was in agony, physical agony which He choose for us, but the best is still yet to come! We have no concept of how rich and bright that glorious place will be where there is no more pain.

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    1. Leigh, you're so right...the best IS yet to come, and it's all the more precious because of what it cost Him to give it to us.

      Thanks so much for being here!

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  24. Beautiful thoughts as always. Your words that Jesus paid your debt and carries your pain were powerful to me. Blessings dear Andrew!

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    1. Mary, thank you so much...blessings back! (And please excuse my tardy reply.)

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  25. We talked about this yesterday in church. That we were all carried within Christ to the cross. All of our sins. Staggering under the weight of the cross. Every step for us.
    I recently read an excerpt from a book about sin and the debt we do all share.
    If you are like me you've got quite a level of debt or so it seems. I've broken some big commandments and done things that most people would gladly stone me for.
    Sometimes I still carry that shame.
    I'll pick it back up and it will keep me separated from Jesus.
    Other times I will cast if off and believe fully that Jesus paid fully for those sins and all sins in those moments and that it was enough.
    The excerpt I read said that being a sinner is a 'Yes' or 'No" moment. If you answer 'Yes" which we all must, you owe the eternal debt of it.
    I cannot imagine the pain you are going through, and I find it incredible that you still prop up and type out words and actually care about other people's musings at a time like this.
    You are finding a way to be given.

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    1. Summer, thank you so much for the raw honesty and transparency of this comment. I truly appreciate what you've brought to the conversation.

      You're so right, that if we try to carry the weight of our transgressions alone, we're effectively knocking Jesus' Hands away. Not what we should do!

      I'm so very grateful for this comment, Summer, and for the thought and care you put into it. What a blessing you are!

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  26. Andrew, I very strongly dislike that you are still in such pain. But you're right....Christ endured pain for us. That's a strong image. It reminds us of Christ's humanity. Sending love, hugs and prayers to you. I'm in the 95 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, the pain doesn't thrill be either...but God has His ways and His reasons. I'll accept those,without resenting it too much.

      But I guess He can do that, because He did break trail for us, and caried our rucksacks to boot.

      Thank you so much for being here!

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