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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 23 - And There Is Joy

When you're dying, it's easy to focus on pain - for it's a physically unpleasant process.

It's easy to focus on heartbreak - because the places you love will, before too long, mot hear, and eventually not remember the sound of your voice, or your familiar footfall.

It's easy to focus on loss, because other lives will go on, and you'll become a photo in an album, a video clip watched with decreasing frequency until the very electrons that form your image lose their cohesive grip.

Yes, you'll be with God, but God placed us here because this life is something of value/ Not only for its formative powers, but because of love and feeling and sentiment.

After all, Jesus wept for sorrow at the news of Lazarus' death.

But there is also joy.

There is joy in the love of my wife...nit the Hallmark-card sentimentality, but eh love that says, what you still can do, you do...and I will be here to help.

There is joy in the clear frosted blue of the high sky, just before the bladelike heat of another New Mexico summer day.

There is joy in the breeze that may bring the rain, the smell of ozone on the air.

There is joy in writing, in ideas imperfectly committed to...uh, well, not paper, exactly. The digital age has sure changed some well-used phrases!

There is joy...the highest kind...in steadfast friend whom I may never meet, offering support and love that I've never before experienced.

There's joy in watching Chris, a labrador whose best friend recently died, learn to play all over again with a Pit named Sylvia (whose picture you may find on this page!). But ylvia's idea of a fun game is "Let's scare Chris to death!"

She's a marshmallow, but he doesn't know that yet!

Joy is the Breath of Heaven.

And it is a choice.

We can embrace joy. We can part the thickets of pain, take the machete of courage to the vines of fear, and uncover that long-forgotten treasure, overlooked when doctor visits became a bigger part of life than dancing.

Joy awaits our return, patiently, and without reproach.

Just like the father of the prodigal.

Just like God.

We're linked to Tuesdays@Ten.


We're linked with Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday today.


  1. Andrew,
    I thank you for visiting a non-FMF post of mine. I thank you for leaving a comment, and I especially thank you for advancing your schedule to share this post. My "oneword365" for the year is "joy", but I don't know if I had told you that.
    I agree that joy is a choice. Last year's word for my life was trust. That was not an easy word to walk out. And this year as I choose joy, I'm also being taught all about grace. What it means to a perfectionist (which you are cured from, you lucky man!), what Jesus means to a striver...no longer is His yoke unbearable and burdensome.
    (Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect)
    So thankful for you today that you are choosing joy. That our enemy, with his greatest efforts, is only causing your fragrant offering of God's hope to become stronger and more attractive to those who have only just met you.
    As you continue offering God the glory, I pray that He would continue to give you glimpses of your impact here on earth.
    You move me to tears with your posts, but I believe it's because there is hope in your story. I am sad that your time here is short but so thankful for the time you still have. It is a blessing to many of us.
    And I pray that your wife will continue to remain in contact somehow. Perhaps she will write on a Friday prompt. Your comment of Sylvia the marshmallow makes me think Chris the Labrador has watched the original Ghostbusters movie a few too many times. That marshmallow man is terrifying!

    I'll link a youtube video of a song we sang today. The words are following me, especially the chorus.
    "It's your breath, in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise to you only"
    And Andrew, you are using your breath to pour out His praise. Blessed are you.

    1. Joy's a good word for the year! Mine is hirihokenten.

      Thank you so much for the warmth and depth of your comment - and yes, there is always hope, unto the last breath and beyond.

      And yeah, Ghostbusters is one of Chris' favourite movies. TSylvia likes Saving Private Ryan; she knows the DVD case on sight, and will bring it to me when she wants to see it.

  2. Not sure I have any words to share after reading Tammy's comment! My eyes are filled with tears; so proud that you HAVE chosen JOY...because there IS joy in the Lord and He alone can fill your heart with joy. As you continue to praise Him and share His love with all...he WILL continue to fill your heart with joy. A joy hard-won, I'm sure; and one that you may not be able to experience to its fullest...but a joy that you experience to the fullest that you have...and you can remember those dances (in the rain or otherwise) as you experience that joy.

    Continuing to pray with you Andrew; and Barbara as well...

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara...it is a hard-won joy, in a way...but in some ways it's the easiest, because all I've really had to do is relax and realize that like Love, it has always been around me, always resident in my heart.

      And thank you so much for the prayers. Days are getting physically harder, but for some reason, my heart's getting lighter.

  3. Dear Andrew, you are strong. Very encouraging, "We can choose joy despite the thickest of pain"
    I can say anything more!
    Loads of love and Blessings to Babara and you

    1. Thank you so much, Ifeoma! Your kind heart and graceful words are always a blessing.

  4. "Joy is the Breath of Heaven."


    1. I felt some of this tonight, that Breath, as the heat fled the desert and the delicious cool air moved in. What a gift!

      Thanks for being here, Johnnie!

  5. True Joy comes from having Jesus as a personal friend and savior. It was so simple, I just invited Jesus to come live in my life and never to leave or forsake me. Your post is precious as death for the Born Again Christian is only a step over into Heaven.

    1. Absolutely, just a step...and it's good to hold our Big Brother's hand as we cross that Threshold.

      Thank you for being here, Hazel.

  6. Thank you again for sharing your journey with us! What an inspiration you are in choosing joy in all things! (stopping by from #InspireMeMonday)

    1. Thank you, Rachel. Your words mean so much! I'm so glad you're here today.

  7. Morning, Andrew. I thought of the blue skies today and prayed they would bring you joy, and that there'd be many more such moments today. It's beautiful to read that this is your experience... as you intentionally open your eyes and heart to find them. I am stunned, though, at the image of being a prodigal rushing toward Father-Joy's arms, burying my face in his chest, and knowing his love flood me - he is so happy in his children turning to him, and we are overwhelmed by his joy as we turn.
    Thank you also for your challenge: to do what we can do, and do it with joy. This includes - for me right now - DIY home improvements (wry smile). It's time to get a better attitude!

    1. It was a lovely morning, Ruth; I am blessed to live in a spot where I can watch every sunrise, heralded by the sun's corona peeping over the horizon, as if the sun's checking to see if everyone's ready for the day.

      And isn't it wonderful to have a God to whom WE bring joy?

      DIY home improvements...I can relate. I'm still working, when I can, on my DIY aeroplane. It takes forever to get anything done, but I have learned to be gracious with myself - to treat any finished part - never mind that I do in a week what used to take an hour - treat it as a worthy accomplishment.

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachael, Thank you for being here. I appreciate you.

  9. I'm so glad that you have the presence of mind to find the joy in each day. It sounds as if you have an amazing ability to see it and sense it even as the pain dulls your senses. I do pray that you sense and see more and more blessings that bring joy in this very day, Andrew. You bring us joy and insight and power to walk where you've walked, my friend.

    1. Beth, thank you so much...it sometimes seems like joy seeks ME out, rather than the other way 'round, and, ike a friendly horse, noses me until I lift my eyes.

  10. Such a beautiful post! Bless your heart...

    Visiting from the Tuesday at Ten linkup :)

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle - I really appreciate your taking the time to visit and comment!

  11. Love reading your posts and your perspective. ♥

    1. Nannette...you just made my evening! Thank you!