Have to write ahead, while I can, so I don't know what the word will be. Sorry. (The word is COMMON.)
In reply to my last post, my dear friend Tammy Belau relied that "to love is to be vulnerable".
Wow. She is so right.
Last night, and the night before, were dreadful. Think of the worst flu you've ever had, magnify it, and that's some idea.
I sleep in the 'kennel room' to be near the dogs, and also because I would keep Barb awake if we slept in the same room. Not good for closeness, but practical. Barb has a demanding job.
So the night was dreadful. Sylvia the Service Dog stayed with me at the ottoman, while ladron the Chief Service Dog went to Barbara's door and stared at it, willing her to wake up. (That didn't work, and when Barb got up at the usual time, Ladron was awfully mad...seeing a Queensland Heeler Meltdown is not pretty.)
I knew that Lardon - who is far more intelligent than I am - thought Barbara needed to be here. I knew she was trying to will The B out of slumber.
But I thought...what can Barbara do?
She could hold my hand.
And the practical benefit would be...nothing. I might feel better, but she'd lose sleep. I can hack it. I'm tougher than anyone I know.
That's true. I actually am tougher than anyone I know, and it's meaningless, because there's always something that will break you. It's biology.
So what did I do, last night? I cheated myself out of help and support, I denied Ladron the purpose of her role as a service dog, and I denied Barbara the chance to be needed, because I wanted to live in my 'tough guy bubble'.
What did I gain? Nothing.
It was a long and scary night, and I faced it without the ally who had promised to be there.
ALL BECAUSE OF PRIDE. I AM INVULNERABLE.
Please, learn from this. Vulnerability is something we all have, or should have, in common. Being me is no virtue.
As another view on vulnerability, I'd like to ask you to look at Harry Yates' memoir of flying in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, Luck and a Lancaster. There is more heart here than I could have in a dozen lifetimes. This is not an 'affiliate link'. If you buy the book - and I hope you do - I won't get a cent.
Much to my surprise, I decided to participate in a '31 Days' blogging exercise; rather than interrupt the flow of this post, I have another blog established, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Ariel Sharon) and a short commentary.
And now that October's over...I'm going to keep it going. I hope you'll join me.
Marley update...he's probably going to be moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.
WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
He's up over 200,000 signatures, but PLEASE keep the pressure on. If you haven't signed, please do! Please click o his name in the paragraph below.
If you have a moment, 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.
Andrew, I love this! It is hard to be vulnerable. You are tougher than anyone I know as well, but I hope that you yourself will learn from last night as well and let Barb be there with you on the next bad night. Always praying for you!ReplyDelete
Mollie, thanks so much. I am trying to learn; but some things God has to hammer me with for awhile.Delete
So grateful for your prayers!
Oh Andrew, I never really know what to say to you when I read your posts. I guess it doesn't help that the title of each has the word "dying" in it. I guess in a lot of ways I have experienced a death of my own through the abuse I have been through and when you comment you seem to understand that better than anyone, and yet, I can't say that the spiritual death and resurrections I have experienced are anything like what you are going through. I want to offer you support and hope and love and so much more, I want to hold your hand when Barbara can't or you are too stubborn to let her and at the same time I want this to be YOUR journey, done your way, because the world can take away all our physical control but it can't break us of our love for Christ and you deserve that dignity. So tonight, and everynight, you are in my prayers. If you ever wanna chat at an awkward hours try tweeting me! I am usually up late because of my PTSD! I know its not the easiest for you, but sometimes just knowing there is someone on the line is comforting.ReplyDelete
marisa, my friend...your wonderful comment is a warm and firm hand-hold. Thank you so much for this!Delete
I so appreciate the prayers! Usually during the night I am in too much pain to attend to anything online, but I will definitely send a tweet when I am able. Thank you for this.
You're a hero to me.
Wow. I'm honored that you linked that to me. Thank you.ReplyDelete
And, so glad you can share this story in hope that others will allow themselves to be vulnerable. You are seeing this so well with great perspective, Andrew.
I think maybe you two should just get a baby monitor. Put it on low sensitivity, but if you really need her, you can trigger it intentionally.
Andrew, it's okay to need help. It's admirable to acknowledge it, even. Which, ha ha, I allude to in my post this week. I guess that's another thing we have in "common".
Blessings, friend. Again, Happy Veteran's Day. We appreciate you!!
(#3 tonight)...right behind you!
Yes, a monitor sounds like a good idea.Delete
Oh, dear, Tammy and Jan, as an amateur herpetologist, when I read 'monitor' I thought of the monitor lizards...of which the best known is the Komodo Dragon!Delete
But you're right - a baby monitor would be a good idea.
These posts can be so hard to write, because I have to face parts of myself that I find I don't much like. I hope it's helping someone out there.
Blessings and thanks, guys - and much love.
Hmmm, now I'm wanting to tie in how you can benefit from having a monitor lizard on the lookout for crocodiles!Delete
Sorry for the confusion. Those of us whose babies were babies not long ago instantly wax toward monitor more as "hall monitor" or watchman usage of the word.
Andrew thank you for your honesty. I agree with Tammy. It' not weakness to ask for help. It's actually strength to recognize your need and to take steps to get the help needed. I know it's hard to do this when your life has told you that this isn't safe. That it's risky. but the truth is, there is goodness in asking someone to come alongside you inthe pain and loneliness. Please know, friend, that i am praying for you. Often.ReplyDelete
jeanne, you're right - the ability to ask for help is indeed a strength. One can only do so much alone - and with compromised health - but to allow the resources of another to become part of yours, that's they key to true strength.Delete
Thank you so much for this, and for your prayers.
It's funny, because blogging and writing involves such profound vulnerability but I too find it harder to replicate in my actions :( There is something all the more difficult about asking someone for help, seeing the look in their eyes when they decide to respond to your need. You are not alone! And hoping that you feel better soon too - sounds like a very nasty illness :( :(ReplyDelete
Emma, exactly right - the things I write here are things that would be very, very hard to say in person. Thank you for this!Delete
It is a nasty illness, and according to my doctor, I won't get better. It'll kill me, and he's surprised I'm still here.
But I will be here tomorrow, if only to confound hima bit more.
Awwwww Andrew. I'm proud of you! Realizing vulnerability is a wonderful thing. Humbling for sure but it gives you room to grow. Barb's job might be extremely demanding, but she'll only get one chance to hold your hand through this. It's ugly, it's yucky, it's nasty, but it's yours and I'm sure she loves you so much that she wants to be there for you and with you through it. Please don't deny her this blessing...her demanding job can wait, and if the powers that be don't understand, I'm certain there is a company out there that would be happy to have her. :) Continuing to pray always for you and Barb. Gentle hugs my friend.ReplyDelete
weird...why didn't my picture show up? homeskoolmom in case you're wondering :)Delete
Christy, you said this perfectly. She does want to help, and I have to get over my own pride - every day - to let her, and not to unthinkingly say, when she offers assistance, "No, it's OK." Those three words have hurt her a lot. I need to excise the phrase from my vocabulary, or at least cut way back on its use.Delete
Thanks so much for being here!
Andrew, I love how you use your words to reflect on how you live better with more love and more vulnerability. You do more than you know, for all of us here at #fmfparty. p.s. Barb sounds like an amazing woman! And I added the Spirit of St. Louis. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Christina, thank you so much for this. You really made my day, and yes, Barbara is amazing.Delete
I am so grateful for your presence here.
Marisa S said what I wanted to say this week. And, well, Tammy...that girl. Right? You are one stubborn, stiff-necked son of a gun Andrew. The B would have gladly gotten up. Com'on bud....don't be so dam* proud. xoxoxoxo When my mom would curse she would spell "Oh! D A M N...." I come from good stock.ReplyDelete
Susan, I am working on the pride. No wonder it's the worst of sins! So hard to cut away from the corners of the soul, but so liberating when a piece falls away.Delete
Thanks so much for being here, and I have not forgotten the card!
It is hard for most of us to vulnerable!ReplyDelete
It is indeed, Paula. Perhaps that's why the Lord requires it, as a refining process?Delete
Thank you for stopping by. I truly appreciate you.
I find that I am too easily vulnerable and then end up very hurt. I easily give up my heart to other people. So there is a good balance and that's probably one reason you are less vulnerable. It is a strength more than you know. I find my willingness to be vulnerable to be quite a weakness in many ways. I read your heart here and can't imagine the agonizing war that is raging within and you exhibit quite a bit of vulnerability here in relationship to your heart bled out all over the pages of this blog.ReplyDelete
Summer, thank you for sharing this. I can see how that kind of vulnerability could lead to hurt, but I also see it as a rare kind of courage. You offer the gift of yourself...which is, really, what Jesus did and does.Delete
It's a lot easier for me to write about the vulnerabilities that I try to hide in person. I don't feel 'anonymous', but having the chance to compose and organize my thoughts makes it easier.
Thanks so much for being here!
I wrote about phrases on my blog today but 'Pease help me' wasn't one of them. Maybe it should have been. I tend to face things on my own, and I don't like to ask for help. I will spend lots of time figuring something out by myself rather than asking for help...except for some techie issues. I don't think its pride, I want to manage my own affairs, like the privacy and have the self-determination, which are part of this.ReplyDelete
But you, Andrew, are mentally tough. That is a remarkable practice, mind over matter.
Here comes a story. (Oh no!) There was a young missionary who was subjected to torture in the foreign land where he lived. He learned to endure the ongoing torture by focusing his attention on an object and then imagining himself above the pain. I read that before giving birth to my third child. I used that technique during childbirth since I did all natural with no pain reduction. It helped and reduced the feeling of panic. I learned something from that. BTW, I think you are amazing. You are fighting the foe every day, and winning. You're still here.
Call Barbara when you know you should. She will appreciate it. It's not just about being needed, it's about loving. She needs to express her love to you, and you don't want her to have regrets about not being there for you.
Bless you. Still praying.
Norma, I love that story. I do the same thing in meditation for pain control - not focusing on an object but seeing the pain as waves on a pond, and gradually stilling them to a mirror-surface.Delete
I so appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, and I promise - I will call for help. Like you, I have never found asking for help easy, in any circumstance. But I see more and more clearly that it's a two-sided thing - that being able to give help is a blessing, one that I have withheld through pride.
Thank you so much for being here, and for the prayers, my friend.
your dog understands something you may be starting to learn. you need comfort. it helps. ask for it when you need it. she will be glad to know she was able to give it. she may not have a long time left to give it. remembering the times she was able to give you comfort will bring her comfort as well. no man is an island you know.ReplyDelete
martha, you're absolutely right. If I deny my wife the chance to give comfort, I can lock her into years of regret after I'm dead.Delete
Thank you so much for this wisdom and perspective. This makes a difference.
Thanks for sharing what you learned. I agree, vulnerability is not easy, but though it can feel like weakness to ask for help it's actually the stronger thing to do. I need to remind myself of that. Praying for you.ReplyDelete
Lesley, absolutely right. It IS the stronger thing to do, and being prideful can actually be the path of least resistance.Delete
So glad you are here!
That pride... it'll eventually give you a swift kick in the backside... and poor Landron... She must've been fit to be tied! I had a blue heeler mix back in the 90's. Her name: Fancy. She was quite a girl. I really my my fur kids from back then! They were so awesome. They were quite protective and kept me on my toes! My fur baby now, Misa, the Akita Dog, is very laid back and bossy. She is protective of me. However, she's more of a man's dog than a woman's dog. She ignores me. I've been told that she paces when I'm gone, waiting for me to get back. I don't believe it. I need proof! I hope you feel better soon Andrew!ReplyDelete
My blog post: http://awifesreflections.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/five-minute-friday-common
Kimberly, you're so right! Pride doth go before the fall, and Heelers...wow. We have three. All protective, and all are totally wired when awake. (Two are reds, one's a blue.)Delete
Interesting that you have an Akita; we mainly have Pits, but a husky mix turned up at the door today. If we can't find her owners she'll stay, of course...to make a duo with Denali The Happy Husky. They were already howling together this evening.
Most of the dogs are 'mine'; Barb says I am a dog whisperer, and they see safety in me. I hope that's true.
Thank you so much for being here today.
Pride is probably the most common trait of all of us, but the humility to see and admit it is an uncommon virtue! Thank God you recognize it and go on. The worst thing we can do is keep living in regret over it. I am working on that now. I wrote, and ended up writing late for last week's word. Very short, after starting and stopping about 3 times. Continuing in prayer for you.ReplyDelete
Mary, you're so right. Pride is our most common trait, and it's so easy to live in regret....or though our own pride cause another person to live in regret over the things he or she was unable to do for us.Delete
Thank you so much for your prayers. These have been kind of awful days, this week.
Andrew, whatever I think of to say in response to your experiences seems trite but I appreciate the wisdom for living you continue to share in the midst of your excruciating journey.ReplyDelete
E, nothing you say could EVER be trite!Delete
Thank you so much for topping by. I am truly grateful.
Tondra, thank you so much. Truly.Delete
Andrew, have you seen Brene Browns work on vulnerability? It's so so good! Check out some of her Ted talks. Love you brother! I'm in the 49 spot this week.ReplyDelete
Tara, thank you for that reference! I will definitely have a listen. Thanks so much for being here!Delete
Andrew, a number of years ago I made a change in my life... and began to be real, authentic, and vulnerable. It was so different from the way I had lived my life until then. But I find I still struggle with vulnerability often. Will I ever master it?? Probably not on this side of eternity. Thank you for your example above. I'll remember that in the days to come. Sorry you had a rough night. I continue to lift you in prayer to our Savior. Blessings to you, Barb, and your amazing dogs.ReplyDelete
Julie, it's such a hard road to walk. Only One ever walked it perfectly.Delete
Thanks so much for the prayers - we all truly appreciate them.
My friend, aversion to vulnerability is something we ALL have in "common." You are normal. One doesn't have to be sick to avoid asking for help. Moms do it often. In fact, just yesterday I wrote about a dear friend of mine who FINALLY called me to ask for help. "The amazing thing about Holy Spirit is that He OFTEN whispers to us about people, exactly when THEY need it, not necessarily when it’s convenient for us." It's a privilege to be asked for help from those we love.ReplyDelete
Praying for you, my friend. Sterkte!
Shauna, thank you for this, and I love how you phrased it - "It's a privilege to be asked for help from those we love." Perfect.Delete
Thank you so much for being here!
I stumbled upon your blog and it is deeply moving and inspirational. I am not in the kind of pain you are, not by a long shot. But I do have chronic, sometimes extreme pain. I don't know if it will ever completely subside, but if you can go on living, then maybe I can too. I just wish I had the support you had.ReplyDelete
My hubby is NOT a good caregiver.
Typing that realization is hard, because I know it would make him extremely angry, if he saw it he would call me ungrateful and a liar. I try often to convince myself otherwise. That he takes great care of me. The reality is otherwise. I love him more than I can ever express, but I wish he didn't treat me like I was lying and/or he doesn't care.
You are so blessed to have Barb. I guess that means you have a pure heart. ^.- Perhaps, I don't.
Always praying for a miracle for you. -Sarah
Oh, Sarah...I am so sorry. I can understand how alone you must feel at times.Delete
Pain hurts, whatever its source, and its intensity can never be compared. Part of it is biology, but part is training - I've been very expensively taught ways to 'shut off' or at least push aside pain in the face of operational necessity. It follows on the axiom "no medicine in a gunfight"; until the shooting stops you can't attend to wounds. You have to be there, in the present, and keep working the situation. And that is, to a large degree, conditioning. The pain you feel may well exceed that which I feel; there's no way to compare. Never minimize your troubles based on comparison!
I appreciate your prayers, and I will keep you in mine.
WOW! Andrew, to be there...all alone...with just the dogs; or I should say :"dog" since Ladron was TRYING to get to Barb!! I cannot imagine just being there, alone, just waiting. Prayers and hugs and thoughts for both of you...ReplyDelete