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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 119 - A Caregiver's Psalm

Out of the depths I call to you, O LORD,
LORD, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive
to my cries for mercy!
If you, LORD, mark our sins,
LORD, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness,
and so you are revered.

I wait with longing for the LORD,
my soul waits for His word.
My soul looks for the LORD,
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,
let Israel look for the LORD.
For with the LORD is kindness,
with Him is full redemption,
and God will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

Ps. 130

Caregiving is hard...and there will be days when you fail, miserably. And you'll know it.

You'll be impatient...and there will be times you're cruel...and you'll want to be uninvolved, and distance yourself.

It's so very hard, watching someone you love die. And each failing can make you feel physically ill, because they didn't ask for this...and you are all they've got.

And to be honest, your terminally ill husband or wife may not make it easier.

There will be constant calls for attention, for you to do the things they can't do for themselves...or think they can no longer do for themselves.

You'll sit down, and you'll be called to get up again.

You'll settle into a hot bath, and immediately have to step out, to be attentive...and by the time you've made it back it's time to get some sleep,and the bathwater's gone cold anyway.

You need help.

And, frankly, the only dependable help is going to come from on high. Friends will commiserate, but that doesn't make the whole thing less irritating, or your failings less glaring nor less guilt-inducing.

I'm a Christian, so I chose a Psalm...but whatever you believe...and I hope you believe something...you will find that these are indeed the times that try souls, and you've got to throw your heart, and your pain, and your hope as high as you can...

And hope that Someone will catch it.

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  1. I love your challenge to all your readers - whether Christian or not. It seems likely that many have been and will be challenged by your gritty and determined faith, Andrew.

    1. Michele, thank you so much for this...I hope it's a strengthening challenge for them. I want so much for this to be a help!

  2. You remind me, Andrew, of the challenge and interruption that a caregiver must face each day. It is unrelenting and yet as the caregiver you never want to feel bitter about your role for your loved one. I do pray that Barbara is finding the joy amidst the hardship of caring for you, Andrew. And for you, my friend, I pray that writing and helping others through your blog/books is a joy that continues through the pain you face each day. Hugs!

    1. That's absolutely right, Beth...it IS unrelenting (and it's part of a patient's duty to allow and encourage respite time).

      Barbara had arranged to take yesterday off (Monday, Feb. 15) to take some time for herself...and instead had a cold for the weekend, and wound up on the other side of caregiving. A weird kind of busman's holiday.

      Thank you so much for the hugs, Beth. I did not know whether I'd get to answer the comments tonight or not, much less write the current installment in the Viet Nam series...but the dogs are propping me up (I passed out earlier) so I can write.

      Hugs back, from all of us. (And you haven't lived until you've gotten a Husky Hug from Denali!)

  3. "you've got to throw your heart, and your pain, and your hope as high as you can...
    And hope that Someone will catch it."
    Good advice for all of us, Andrew. I needed to be reminded of that today. Trusting in the One that will catch our hope this week.

    1. He never fails, Lisa...though sometimes He has to work the Hope that He catches into that which is best for us.

      It can be a severe mercy.

  4. I have a friend who writes poetry. He once wrote these words, "I reached for love and caught its pain." I think those words can apply to more than love. Still praying.

    1. Oh. My. Gosh.

      Norma, that is nothing short of arresting, that line.

      Thank you so much for the prayers...and prayers back.

  5. So thankful to see this, YOU, in my inbox this morning, Andrew. I've been praying for you and Barbara all weekend. May Shalom envelope you both.

    1. Peace is here, June...and Jehovah Rapha has been tending to Barbara. She's improved steadily today!

      Thank you so much for being here!

  6. The Psalms are my favorite; and this one does hit as the perfect "Caregivers Psalm". Thank you for sharing this, and your words, Andrew. As always, they hit right to my heart and sould...from YOUR heart and soul. I know I have been struggling with patience; still do! I also know that HE can be cruel (not God; my spouse!)...and that I also can be cruel though I really do try not to be...

    Continued prayers for you and Barbara. Praying for God's comforting arms for Barbara and for strength as you take this journey. We all know where it will end; we just don't know when. None of us knows that; God only does!

    1. I am beginning to think that cruelty is the underside of married love...that the more we love, the more we expose ourselves to that which is rudeness from a stranger but cruelty from a spouse...because they know us well enough to hurt us badly.

      And we, them.

      In a sense, it's like what we do to Jesus...we crucify Him every day, when we turn back to our pride and pettiness.

      We so appreciate the prayers, Barbara. No saying when it will end but this evening I saw more clearly the form...and I'm not looking forward to that. A firefight would be better.

      Thank you so much for being here!

  7. Throw everything as high as you can...what a wonderful thought! God bless, again, Andrew!

    1. Thank you so much, Carol!

      I'm blessed by your presence here, and by your comment.

  8. Andrew, you bring me face-to-face with the truth. If I am ever in the position of caregiver to a dying spouse, I WILL fail. It's so hard to think that way, but to realize it's true is important. Because I can begin to take the pressure off now. As I care for my boys. I fail there too, and they're not sick. It's okay to fail. And it's important to call out to the One who gives grace in times of need.

    I'm praying for you and Barbara, my friend.

    1. Jeanne, Confucius said that failure is not in falling...it's in not getting up after you've fallen.

      And isn't it wonderful that there is always a Hand, ready to help us up, dust us off, and dry our tears?

      Thank you so much for being here, Jeanne! And we truly appreciate the prayers.