I'm writing ahead of time - again - because things are steadily getting harder for me, and chances are that I'd never get a timely post put together. But I will try to work the keyword in when it's revealed.
(The word is PURPOSE.)
At least I don't have to worry about getting old.
Aside from the normal deterioration in the pancreas (huge pain spasms, dry heaves, and projectile vomiting...sorry) and the broken lower-leg-bone which isn't healing and an abscessed tooth, I managed to get shot last week. It was an accident, I think. Someone doing some target shooting and not watching downrange. Can't be mad about that.
The large-caliber rounds were at the end of their range and didn't penetrate, but still did some bad stuff. One hit my knee (on the good leg) and swept it, and on the way down another hit me a few inches above the navel. It was like being hit with a brick. That one did some internal damage.
It hurts. Bad. The other night was pretty horrible, and in the morning I told Barb that it felt like God was beating the crap out of me for everything I'd ever done wrong, and for everything anyone else had ever done wrong.
Instead of rebuking me for saying something that might have verged on blasphemy, she just shook her head and said, "Yeah. I see that."
So it's getting almost, maybe, intolerable.
And it's a blessing. It gives my life a terrible, beautiful purpose.
I could go on about the theological aspects of pain, but C.S. Lewis already did that, in The Problem of Pain. I'm no Clive Staples Lewis.
The blessing is that it all digs my well of love a bit deeper.
See, I don't want anyone else to go through this. Certainly not a friend, and not even an enemy. I'd do all I could to shield even that enemy from facing my days.
It's not that I'm a good person, but it's just that enough's enough, and you have to draw a Line of Love somewhere. So I'll draw it here.
I'll love my enemies enough not to want to make them endure agony.
Just seems like the right thing to do.
I'm really not in the mood for serious musical accompaniment, so how about some unabashed feel-good escapism, courtesy The Bangles?
If anyone might be interested, my last post quoted Bishop Nikolai's famous Prayer For Enemies in its entirety.
A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.
I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.
Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.
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.
Good grief, Andrew! I'm glad the bullets were at the end of their range--but how shocking! I'm glad you're still with us. Prayers that your neighbor learns to shoot in a safe direction :/. It's funny how the closer we get to God, the less we want our enemies to suffer. I've had that happen to me, too.ReplyDelete
Anita, thanks so much! I hoping the neighbour gets some downrange awareness, too. And yes, it is odd how God works it, that the more we hurt the more compassionate we can, by His grace, become.Delete
Thanks so much for being here!
Well, I guess you know what song will be serenading me to sleep tonight. ;)ReplyDelete
I am so sorry that you were shot. Twice. I'm grateful those rounds were at the end of their range, but still. Your perspective humbles me. The way God has opened up your heart and filled it with love for others—including your enemies—in this hard, horrible season is beautiful. And humbling. I have it so easy. It's easy to forget that we are to love our enemies. Well, kind of. Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your journey transparently. For sharing the ugly as well as the redemption God is working through it.
Continuing to pray for you, Barb, and the dogs.
Glad to provide you with some musical inspiration, Jeanne! I love the song, really. Always did.Delete
Thank you so much for this grace-filled comment, my friend. And thank you so much for the prayers, from all of us!
Oh my gosh! :( You... you... Don't do that! I do sincerely hope you have a better day tomorrow.ReplyDelete
Melinda, thank you so much! Truly, don't want to do THAT again! :)Delete
So you are telling us you suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach and are still typing blog posts?! You are going to have trouble selling your biography as they will think it's fiction.ReplyDelete
So thankful you are okay. Did it scare the pups??
Your purpose is to Glorify God as is mine. You are doing so well with your purpose Andrew!! The transformation in your life over the last two years has been amazing to watch.
Barbara is wonderful and I am so grateful for the two of you to share all your struggles to strengthen others. May God bless you both tonight!!!
Tammy, yeah...probably a good thing I'll never write an autobiography. (Lived it all once, don't want to relive it through the keyboard.)Delete
But yes, I'm up writing posts. Generally shorter, and not keeping up as much as I'd like in the blogosphere for now. Hurts too much.
The dogs that were with me were scared, yes. And it's caused some major problems, which has scare the others...and has scared Barbara. And me.
We so appreciate your kind words and thoughts, and your being here!
Love back, from all of us.
Dear Andrew, how did you have such an adventure when you're dying? And yet...you and Chuck Norris (one of my heroes) live on. For goodness sake stay away from BULLETS! BTW, I love your musical accompaniment, takes me back to my younger years. Hugs and prayers to you and BarbReplyDelete
Christy, thanks so much...and all life is really an adventure. Bullets and the smell of burned gunpowder are so much a partof my past, what's made me...I really don't mind. It somehow seemed fitting.Delete
So glad you enjoyed Manic Monday! I LOVE than song.
Thank you o much for the prayers,and hugs back from both of us. And the dogs, too.
Andrew, what can I say? I wish more of us would try and choose love. Just a few weeks ago, the text was, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Helps put a new spin on what life should look like. Sorry you're in so much pain friend. Praying for you always. I'm in the 5 spot this week.ReplyDelete
Tara, it is such a hard text...but God never said it would be easy. Just that it was necessary.Delete
I'm so glad you're here!
Wow again! Hugs to you! I remember being in the ER with a lot of pain one night from excessive vomiting and pain (classic kidney stone symptoms) I said to the nurse, "This is horrible. I wouldn't wish it on anybody." The best gift anyone can receive is that of compassion as it will keep on giving and hopefully move us all to love deeper.ReplyDelete
Oh, Leigh...kidney stones! That's awful. I've had bladder stones, and that was bad enough.Delete
And you're so right...the best gift we can give in this life is compassion, witnessed through Christ.
Thanks so much for being here!
I'm so sorry. You are always in my prayers.ReplyDelete
Shelli, thank you so much. I truly appreciate you.Delete
Andrew, I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that on top of everything else! I love your perspective in allowing it to deepen your compassion for others. And I like the song- sometimes a little bit of feel-good musical escapism is exactly what's needed!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Lesley! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the song. It's long been one of my favourites. (Along with "Walking On Sunshine", by Katrina and the Waves.)Delete
How can this be? Gun shot? Are you testing your readers to see who is paying attention? I am. Gun shot? xoxoReplyDelete
Yep, Susan. Rural New Mexico. Life's an adventure, if you survive.Delete
Can't believe this happened, to add to everything else you're going through. It's amazing that you can see it as a gift, a way to increase in love and compassion for others, wanting to spare them the pain you've experienced, no matter who they are. Like Jesus on the cross: not saying "Father, avenge me" but "Father, forgive them." That's only possible through the power of the Spirit. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Jeannie, it was really funny, in a way...a "REALLY?" moment.Delete
I'm so grateful for the grace in your comment; and humbled. Thank you so much for being here.
I'm praying for you, as always.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for the prayers, Jan. They're needed. This did some damage.Delete
What more can go wrong? You can't make this stuff up. So sorry it's this way. Pulling for you (and praying).ReplyDelete
Norma, thank you so much, and most especially for the prayers.Delete
It wasn't a bad thing, really, because it brought me another step closer to God.
That's certainly rough! You're in my prayers, Andrew.ReplyDelete
My blog is here.
Kimberly, thank you so much. We truly appreciate the prayers; they're needed.Delete
sad to hear of your lousy week andrew:( hope this coming week improves...particularly in the areas of comfort. will be praying for you.ReplyDelete
Martha, thank you so much! I really could use a better week, and we truly appreciate the prayers!Delete
Oh Andrew! I am so sorry. I can't believe you were shot! But I am so thankful you are here, continuing to give us all hope. I'm in the #12 spot this week.ReplyDelete
Barbie, thank you so much...I sort of couldn't believe it either, but it's all in God's Holy Purpose, and with that I am content.Delete
Thanks so much for being here!
If pain is making you love more deeply, even your enemies,then your purpose is being unfolded around you. One abscessed tooth, which I have had, is enough for me. I read the entire "tortured for Christ" book when I had it thinking their pain would make mine less. It didn't work. I will pray, as I do every week for you,that you will have times of deep fellowship with Christ in the most unusual ways. And that relief will come when you need it most. I'm #81 this week, I think 81. Or 91. "My purpose or His purpose."ReplyDelete
Mary, thank you so much for this...and for your prayers. They are very much appreciated, and very needed.Delete
Found, you, Mary! Great post.Delete
Oh, Andrew! This brings up the age old question of why some people suffer so much more than others. We won't really know that answer till we die and probably wouldn't fully understand the answer if God tried to explain it to us on earth. I'm so glad that Barbara didn't take offense at your feelings. It's what I would feel too and it's always good to have a spouse validate our feelings--no matter how illogical or unbiblical they are! Praying for some kind of relief, my friend. Just breaks my heart!ReplyDelete
Beth, that is really the eternal question...the one that I think confounds Christians more than anything.Delete
For me, knowing that more pain equates to being able to love more deeply is enough. If, the harder it gets the more I care, I'm really content.
Thanks so much for the prayers...they are needed. But I am ultimately OK, because, with your help, I can truly feel God's immanence in my life. Not theoretically - personally.
AHH!!! I just wish I could pop through the screen and HUG YOU!!! I think I would have thought and said the same thing truthfully. And pastor just said today God likes it better when we just get real with Him. You have been through so much and to put in terms where you speak kindly of your enemies, reminds me of Jesus. I am in awe of your spirit, but I know you are still human and so I am praying for you brother. If I don't get to meet you in this life, I look forward to visiting with you and your wife in the next. (Sorry I got deep but can't help it.) I am so excited about your book because I keep wanting to buy it and we just got some extra funds so the timing is perfect. I also downloaded the free kindle thing, but even still I want to order a regular copy for Matt while he's out on the road. Thanks for being faithful here, Andrew. It impacts me and sometimes I feel I know you all better than some people I know in "person." That's a blessing of a transparent writer I suppose.ReplyDelete
Meg, thank you so very, very much for this. Your comment truly made my evening, and gave me deep feelings of both joy and humility.Delete
I'm just so very, very grateful for this.
Oh, Andrew, gun shots??!! You couldn't make it up. The saga of your life just keeps on giving, doesn't it? I hope someone is getting all of this down for you. It would make a remarkable memoir. Though I'm sure heaven is keeping a record and God is saying, "That's my boy!" as He wipes a proud tear from His eyes. Your presence here has tremendous purpose, because you are revealing so much God-given faith and wisdom to us through your journey with sickness and pain. And your final welcome Home will be rapturous.ReplyDelete
Meanwhile, I meant to tell you I loved your book, 'Blessed Are the Pure of Heart' and will try to write a glowing review for it asap. You have a gift for communicating great truths in an accessible way that others can strongly relate to. We see it here week by week, and it's clear in your books as well. They will live on as a testimony to the gritty faith you have shown in adversity, revealing the beauty of Jesus through your words. Praying for you, Barb and the canine family. May pain ease, rest come more freely and peace descend to keep you centred in the love and compassion you so freely show to others. Humbled as always by your insightful thoughts and steely faith. Bless you, Brother.
What a crazy week, Andrew! :( Hope the damage is healing quickly, that would have been such a shock.... and to cap off all the other stuff, I don't think I would have known whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculous nature of how much is going on :( Hope you have a much calmer week...ReplyDelete