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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 207 - Why I'm Still Here {FMF}

Back again for Five Minute Friday, the weekly get-together and key-word-themed timed writing challenge hosted by the lovely and gracious Kate Motaung.

Yeah, I know. Calling a lady 'lovely' isn't PC, but neither am I, and lovely she is. Deal with it.

As has happened too often in the past few weeks, I'm writing ahead of time. At the moment I have pneumonia, and it is immediately-life-threatening. If I can work the keyword into the theme I will. I just want to be sure there's something to post. (The word's listen, and I worked it in.)

So...I'm over 200 posts in this series. My doctor's kind of shocked, and my wife is flabbergasted. I shouldn't be alive any more. What gives?

I have no idea...and while this is getting harder for me I have been able to keep going. I've stopped working on fiction...just don't have the energy...and I have had to cut back, with regret, on commenting on other blog. Keeping the BPH blog running, with admittedly shorter posts, is taking a lot.

So, what resources are there?

  1. GOD - I believe in the Christian God, and I believe that I am being kept viable to fulfill a purpose. I may not know what it is, and it may be far from what I would guess - I may be a cautionary tale rather than an example - but there is a reason for this. The pain and humiliation (read incontinence and fainting, several times today) are not His concern. My performance is.
  2. DOG - yes, it's an anagram for God, and no wonder, at least here. We have many, nearly all having arrived at this place of last resort. For some reason - known only to them and their Great Anagram - I have a connexion with these guys that no one else can match. The fiercest maulers let me hold them belly-up, like puppies, and drift off to happy dreams in my arms. This is hard to fathom, for I am, above most everything else, a trained dealer in death. But they see some transcendence, and I won't abandon them.
  3. YOU GUYS - The FMF, Books and Such,  Steve Laube Agency, Messy Marriage,  and Inspire Me Mondays communities have carried my heart and soul over some really horrible patches. I never had pen pals; I never really believed in friendships that were not face-to-face. Boy, was I ever wrong. You guys are literal lifesavers.
  4. DREAMS - Yes, I still have dreams, and while their attainment is predicated on a restoration of health, working toward them in hope is not. Our dreams are not our own, not really. They're beholden to the Almighty, as concrete symbols of faith, and they're obligations to the community, a shared vision of a general hope that allows us to encourage one another when things seem to hard to bear. Dreams are not ego; they are the debt we owe.
And Barbara? Well, we've been married for either fourteen or twelve years (yes, there was a divorce and remarriage in there, 2003-2004).

And I still live to say good morning to her, every day. And to listen for her reply.

For a musical theme, how about some Christian Metal?

Marley update...he's received a lot of support, but STILL NEEDS HELP TO BE SAVED.


He's up to nearly 200,000 signatures, but the local authorities are dragging their feet. They think that we'll give up and go away. We won't.

If you have a mment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

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. So glad to see your post tonight. I have been absent from the community for awhile, but praying for you - and tonight it fills my heart with joy to see you are still writing. Sending an extra hug to you and your wife this evening ... Thank you for graciously sharing your journey with all of us.

  2. Good to see you, Andrew! I hope that your pneumonia continues to get better. Yes, God and dog can both help us (as can community). Where there is hope there is life. Where there are friends, dogs and especailly God, there is hope.

  3. Oh, Andrew. I always, always love your posts. And I'm sorry things are getting harder. The way you are intentional about your writing, and about showing up? Yeah, they inspire me in the deep places. I LOVE that God gave you dogs to care for and to be loved on by them. The relationship you have with them truly is unique. Honestly? I don't think I could do it.

    I like what you said about dreams. And how you and Barb listen for each others' voices in the mornings. You both continue to be in my prayers, my friend.

  4. Well happy anniversary, brother! My Dave and I were also wedded in 2004!!!
    We just had our anniversary on Sunday. A somber date with all due respect given.
    I'm happy for you to continue dreaming-Daniel and Joseph were dreamers and so close to God!
    ANDREW can be rearranged to DRAWN and the E can be that British embellishment you often partake in. You are drawne closer to Him and His glory with each grateful breath! And He's speaking to you, "well done, well done, well done."

    1. Or, WANDER. I like that...Andrew is a Wander...er and a Wonder.

  5. I'm so SO sorry to hear you're not doing well today. I'm keeping you in my prayers, that you'll have some relief. I won't pretend to know the answer to your question of why you're still here... But i sure am glad you are! What grace that you still have major things that give your life purpose. Thanks for continuing to make the effort to give to this community. We are with you and for you no matter what, even if you don't make the first FMF post some day. Like you, I never thought online friendships were the real deal but you've been one of my most real supporters these last months and in grad school in general. I know I'll be thinking of you when I graduate!

    Take care Andrew... Praying always...

  6. Andrew you inspire me!!! I don't have the words to fill in the gaps, but God has the love and all of that. He is true and we are living for the Hope unseen, I wish I could brotherly hug you. If you were a bro in my church I am sure I already would have. You are in my prayers and I am so glad to be in this community with all of you, just wow. Blessings + prayers - Meg

  7. Good Morning Andrew, I was so glad to read your post this morning although I was sorry to read that you have pneumonia and the days are getting harder. I am going to be praying for God to touch your body, bringing healing and strength. You are here for a purpose as we all are. None of us may know all of the purposes God has intended for our days and that is truly the beauty I see in life. One day, when we are all reunited, and YES!!! see Jesus (and each other!!!) face to face, we will have all of time to share of the way in which we encouraged and helped one another. It all will make perfect and beautiful sense in His Presence. Blessings to you and Barbara!

  8. Prayers, as always Andrew. I'm so glad you're still here and still writing. Thank you for encouraging us!

  9. I'm glad you're surprising people by the fact that you're still here, and that you're still able to write. I love your reasons for keeping going. Praying for you.

  10. Great Grace comiserate with great suffering, and it is amazing that you are still here with us. You have a huge strength of will. Sorry about the pneumonia. I often pray for your physical needs. You prove that one can dig deeper ... and deeper ... and deeper.
    Still praying.

  11. Andrew, you're a good friend to have. I appreciate your courage in dealing with all your problems.

  12. I love your reasons! They are all centered around God. Super cool. Lifting you up right now in prayer. How yeah how's Barbara doing?

  13. We love you so, Andrew! I know what you meant but I wouldn't be me if I didn't add in that I think the pain and humiliation DOES concern Him and I think He is more concerned about your heart than your performance, brother! I remember a long time ago He whispered to me, "If it concerns you, it concerns Me." and I believe that is true for all of us!

    Happy Anniversary to you and Barb! Praying for you both!

  14. Andrew, isn't it amazing to see the ways we can connect through social media and gave never met in real life. It's holy! And happy anniversary to you and Barbara. I'm in the 56 spot this week.

  15. WOW! Lot's to think about. You tell it the way it is. I am sorry today is such a hard day for you. May you find some relief and mercy. Blessings to you. Stopping by from FMF.

  16. Happy anniversary! Loved what you shared today- and seeing God's beautiful compassion in the dogs and the opportunity for you to pour out and receive here.

    Praying for you, Andrew. I just read this and thought of you...so am praying it over you:

    Psalm 73: 23 - 28

    Yet Andrew is always with you;
    you hold him by his right hand.
    24 You guide him with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take Andrew into glory.
    25 Whom does Andrew have in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing he desires besides you.
    26 His flesh and his heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of Andrew's heart
    and his portion forever.
    27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
    28 But as for Andrew, he believes it is good to be near God.
    He has made the Sovereign Lord his refuge;
    Andrew will tell of all your deeds.

    Thank You, Lord for holding Andrew safely in Your arms.

  17. Andrew, I think the four (five, if you count Barbara) resources are perfect and ones that each of us could learn from and get our strength and whatever from!

    Just know that the "You guys" category encompasses a whole lotta love and concern and support and we are pulling for you...you may feel we are a resource for you; but you have been that rock and strength and resource for US as well!! You have inspired and opened my eyes in nearly every single post of yours that I have read in this series...

    And OVER TWO HUNDRED!!! That IS amazing!

    Continuing to pray for you and Barbara...

  18. Great resources, Andrew. I learn from you each time I visit, and I haven't done a good job of that lately. I've been praying for you, however, and will continue to do so. Praying the pneumonia is cleared up soon, and for your dreams to come to fruition. Glad to journey alongside of you in this life. Bless you, brother, and much love to you, Barbara, and the dogs!

  19. Andrew, you fulfill your purpose well. I know that I am not the only one who gets a great deal of encouragement and grit for the fight from your words.

    And I say you've been married for 14 years. :)

  20. Hello Andrew, it's been a while since I've been part of FMF but I've still been reading your blog on the quiet, sitting with you at the edges of things, praying and supporting from afar if not joining in the comments. And I so admire your stance on life. These words alone speak volumes: "Dreams are not ego; they are the debt we owe" as they remind me/us not to give up on the dreams God plants within our hearts. Thank you for being you and thank God for allowing you to be here for a little longer. Blessings, hugs and prayers to you and your household.

  21. sad to hear about your pneumonia andrew:( not great when you're wanting to breath is it? praying for you whether this means you are close to the end or not. glad GOD has provided you with people to give you support. hope the pneumonia is resolving. will be praying for you.

  22. I'm so glad you listen for Barbara's reply each day, Andrew. And your thoughts on all the ones who've kept you going are just as inspiring. Keep breathing, my friend. It truly does seem as if God wants you around longer than you could've guessed. So thank you for hanging in there with the ravages of disease constantly devouring your body. At least it has not touched your spirit!

  23. Although Andrew, Drawne, and Wander-er are all great, I vote for RE-DAWN. No, it's not a real word but when has that stopped me? :) (I may even include it in my SBV, Shauna Blaak Version of the Bible) I've only know you a couple of months, but to me, you are the definition of 'brand new mornings and finding a reason to get up each day.' You are an inspiration to all of us, Andrew, and we, your favourite pen-pals, love and pray for you.

    Happy Anniversary to you and Barb!
    Shauna (#19 this week)