The word this week is a good one...EXPECT.
Not quite sure what to say. It's hard to breathe, very hard to move, and this has gotten really, really scary. There is a new and nasty symptom, a fell harbinger, and my right lung's screwed up. This really sucks.
I don't want to be brave. There's a part of me that wants to curl up in a ball on Abba-Daddy's lap, and close my eyes until He makes the bad things go away.
It's an appealing image. Trouble is, it's not how He made me.
He made me something of a hard man; not unsympathetic, and not lacking in compassion (I hope) but relentless in the fight. I take injuries pretty well, and will happily improvise a splint rather than take a broken arm to the doctor. I've done minor surgery on myself.
Still and all, pain and fear make for some pretty high walls. But there is something in which I take comfort...the first verse of I Shall Be Released, written by Bob Dylan and best-performed by The Band (anyone old enough to remember?).
They say every man must need protection
They say every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above the wall
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released
I am going to scale those walls. Hardness is my strength; ferocity is my mainspring; and victory will be mine.
The victory is not over death; that comes to all. The true enemy, revealed ever more clearly, is despair astride the fell steed of hopelessness. He will not prevail.
I hear the deguello all around me now; but it's not my throat that will be cut. I will be the last man standing.
And ready for another fight. Which I expect to win.
If you're interested, here are the musical references - first, I Shall Be Released...
and next, the deguello (it';s a bugle call signaling 'no quarter'; it means 'to cut the throat')...
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.
Despair is a foe for all, Andrew! I'm thankful for your grace in sparing us your detailed agony and yet aching that what you have today is leaving you weary and labored.ReplyDelete
You curling up with Abba Father was beautiful-something I did not EXPECT.
Praying His peace on you tonight.
Not linked yet but I will.
Tammy, thank you so much. This has been an exceptionally really truly it-sucks-AWFUL week, and I really didn't know if I'd be up to writing.Delete
The prayers and love mean the world to me tonight.
I love that you identify the foe as despair. That a lack of hope is the ultimate enemy. It's so true. Like 1 Peter says we have a living hope made possible by Christ's resurrection. I love that phrase living hope. I also really felt the words of that song you shared. The angst you are feeling in this battle between release and long-suffering. WOW. I believe whole heartedly that a refusal to give up hope is what can keep us alive. Your testimony is always humbling to read and puts life into its rightful perspective. Thank you for sharing these deep and painful parts of life.ReplyDelete
Summer, thank you so much for this, and for the 1 Peter reference...it's exactly right.Delete
It's truly hope that is vital...sometimes the smallest hope, like the hope, nurtured, that there is yet hope.
Thank you so much for being here!
Andrew, my friend, So glad you are still here. Your post reminded me of one of my fave quotes "Easter says you can put death in the grave but it won't stay there"--Clarence W.Hall Yes....because God is the ultimate victor isn't he? Thank you for continuing to share your story friend. I'm in the 13 spot this week.ReplyDelete
Tara, I LOVE Hall's quote! Thank you for sharing it.Delete
God is indeed the ultimate victor. Yes!
I'm so glad you're here, my friend.
thanks for stopping by my blog today andrew:) always nice to see a newish name even tho' yours isn't totally new. sad to hear of your ugly week:( praying for peace and rest for you...and some pain relief.ReplyDelete
i remember being with a friend of our shortly before she passed. she was about 100. she was simply sleeping more and more and talking less and less. but one thing she did remember was psalm 23. we quoted it together!
it is comforting for sure to think of the Lord shepherding us during our last days on earth, providing for every need. and comforting us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is the good Shepherd for sure.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Blessings Andrew. You have our prayers in the days ahead.
Thank you for being here, martha...and that's kind of me, now...not sleeping, but passing out and being unconscious more and more, and talking...well, it hurts too much to talk. Generally, now, I write, and even text or email my wife.Delete
Love the 23rd. Thank you for that.
Bob Dylan? Hello...you are telling Noah about the flood, brother. "If in this life only we have HOPE (aka EXPECTation), we are of all men most miserable." Somewhere in a letter to the Corinthians...addresses fail me. But I know this my friend. When Christ has washed us clean with His precious shed blood (talk about pain) - our HOPE and our RELEASE is when we see His face.ReplyDelete
In the meantime...keep singing. keep writing. keep feeding dogs. keep breathing with your one good lung. I EXPECT you here. (xo)
Susan, yes indeed...seeing His Face is indeed our hope and release!Delete
And I will keep going. Expect it! XO waggy wag wag
Andrew, I'm so sorry this week has been rough. I also appreciate how you pinpoint what our real enemy is: hopelessness, ridden on by despair. Your determination to hold onto hope, and reading and watching how you do this, inspires me.ReplyDelete
Part of me wants to tell you to go ahead and curl up in Abba's lap. But you know how He made you. And I know you well enough to know you won't live in authentically. So, even as you struggle, I continue to pray for you. For Barb. For the dogs. Gentle hugs, friend.
Jeanne, thank you so much for this...holding onto hope is an intentional thing, every hour. No, every minute.Delete
And, yeah, he did make me different so that the lap thing isn't an option. I envy those who can; perhaps they don't envy me, but things are what they are. I'm OK with that.
The prayers and hugs are very appreciated!
Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Andrew. I'm with Jeanne here that part of me wants you to curl up on Our Father's lap...but it returns me to what God's been teaching this stubborn girl: He's made us all a unique representation of Himself, gifting each one of us different, but vital parts of His Body. Your courage and strength gives us a window into Christ's.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this as well: "despair astride the fell steed of hopelessness"...although I do not know the depths of your suffering, I too know this enemy first-hand...but like you, I also know God has made us overcomers in Him. You, Andrew, are a mighty fine example of what it is to overcome in Jesus' Name...and encourage me to overcome in my much more placid battles. Thank you for your faithful encouragement to us all.
Anna, thank you so much. Your words strengthen my spirit, and do my such great honour!Delete
Thank you so much for being here!
Hope. That's the difference isn't it? Even in death there is hope for you, a Heavenly hope for eternity. Can I be sad and joyous for you at the same time? Sad that you're going to leave and joyous that you'll be out of pain and...well still sad for the empty places you'll leave behind. Praying for you and yours my friend.ReplyDelete
Christy, yes...sad and joyous works well. I appreciate that so much!Delete
Someone close said recently that I should let go, just ask God to take me home. But I don't want to go yet. I still want to see how this hand plays out; I still want to see another sunrise. Even through a fog of pain, yeah.
So many thanks for the prayers!
Andrew, what is that flag blowing with the trumpet call? Just curious.ReplyDelete
Jan, the flag is from the Mexican War of Independence...the flag of the rebels of Morelos, used in 1811-12 after the execution of Manuel Hidalgo.Delete
Here's a link in which it's featured, if you're interested -
Andrew, thank you for coming by my blog! I am lifting you up in prayer right. I can tell God has made you a fighter and even more powerful of a fighter because of Him. That is something to hope in as you curl up on your Daddy's lap.ReplyDelete
Kristina, thank you so much! It can be hard to keep fighting...but I don't know HOW to do much else. So I go on.Delete
We truly, truly appreciate the prayers.
"The real enemy is despair."ReplyDelete
Andrew. Dude. That speaks to me today. Despair would have us give up and give in. Christ calls us to battle. He gives us what we need and never abandons us. We don't have to listen to the stinking voice of despair!
Marie, you said this perfectly! "Despair would have us give up and give in. Christ calls us to battle. He gives us what we need and never abandons us."Delete
That is so beautifully phrased, my friend!
Andrew, I don't know if this will make any sense, but I think we also suffer knowing you are suffering. In some small way we are pulling with you, trying to bear up and help shoulder the load. Glad we can pray, otherwise we would feel helpless. God bless you. NReplyDelete
Norma, yes...it makes perfect sense. Tennyson said that by prayer, all the world is bound 'round the feet of God with golden chains.Delete
We are linked, connected...John Donne said, "Ask not form whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
That's the way its supposed to be.
I so appreciate your prayers, Norma.
Andrew, I don't EXPECT you will just lie down and let yourself be released; though that surely sounds like the way to go! You do not sound like that type of man; though I feel it's really been a rough time for you, I can't see you doing that.ReplyDelete
And always you are sharing words of wisdom, from yourself and a number of different sources. Thank you, Andrew! And, blessings to you and Barb...prayers continue. May God be with you during these days of distress, and help guide you to the release He has for you!
Barbara, you're dead right. I intend to meet this on my feet. I never wanted to die in my sleep. I want to face it down.Delete
Today has been, frankly, awful, but I'm still here, and hope to see the sunrise. And we thank you so much for the prayers!
When - and if - you do go, we'll miss you a lot.ReplyDelete
Jan, let's make that an 'IF'; I intend to beat this thing.Delete
And I do appreciate, and treasure, your words.
Yep. the real enemy is despair. May the Holy Spirit comfort you and Barbara and your non-human persons that do so much for you.ReplyDelete
Anita, thank you so much...today was a few degrees south of awful, and the dogs were beside themselves.Delete
Normally the comforters, today they needed comfort.
Thank you so much for being here!
I definitely do not expect to see you give up! I know you are a fighter and your work here is clearly not done. :)ReplyDelete
Kadie, your words mean a LOT to me! Thank you so much!Delete
Never out of the fight.
Deguello. New word to me! Thanks Andrew for adding to my store of inspiration and to my word bank!ReplyDelete
Michele, you're very welcome...and thank YOU for being here, and for your support!Delete
I'm sorry it's been such an awful week, but I love your fighting spirit and your refusal to let despair win. Praying for you!ReplyDelete
Carly, thank you so much...but even though it's gotten even worse (swelling that makes it look like I swallowed a volleyball) the intentionality of 'counting it all joy' is a real tonic, quite unexpected.Delete
Thank you so much for the prayers!
One of the most important aspects in fighting any war is knowing your enemy. It's clear you know yours and I have no doubt that you will be victorious, Andrew! I hate it that the suffering is increasing. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who thinks of you throughout the day, Andrew. Prayers are numerous and sincere for you and Barbara. God goes before you, and He is your rearguard. He will protect you, always.ReplyDelete
June, you're so right...knowing one's enemy is vital. For a long time I thought it was pain and illness, and (influenced by Paul), death. But those are things that no one avoids...despair, the kind that makes one turn from any kind of hope, faith, and eventually love...that's the real killer of the soul.Delete
We so appreciate the prayers, June. They are vital. Truly.
Andrew, sending prayers to you! May we all resist - and fight the foe! Let us not give the foe any power over us. Our great God never leaves us. Thankful you continue to share your heart!ReplyDelete
Carrie, yes! he never, ever leaves us.Delete
We are so very, truly, deeply appreciative of the prayers. Today was really tough; they are needed.
Andrew, checking in to see how you are doing and praying the worst has passed. I look forward to reading more of your posts!!!!! God bless.ReplyDelete
Lara, thank you...the physical worst kinda got even worse, but I retain both hope and faith...and defiance. I will not yield to despair. Not today, not ever.Delete
I'm so glad you're here!
Seriously, Andrew! You are more sturdy and unrelenting than that energizer bunny or the Timex watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking! ;-) I love how you keep fighting back death and I do pray that God gives you relief even as He chooses to keep you here another day--I'm sure for our benefit! Thank you for all you do, my friend! You are ever-inspiring.ReplyDelete
Thanks for showing up with your inspiration, Andrew. I've never considered myself to be tough, so reading in the comments 'I will not yield to despair, not now, not ever' stopped me in my tracks. I'm realising we don't ever need to be afraid of deadly assailants like despair cos each time we come here we get a self defence lesson from a pro trainer: life-saving life skills. Thank you. *ninja chop* BIFF ZZAP (and other cartoon sound effects)ReplyDelete
PS heard for the first time today a song called 'your love is fierce' by Chris Quilala https://youtu.be/II1JKBuz-AY about God's great love for us. A striking lyric...Delete