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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 285 - The Brutal Flickering {FMF}

We're back with that wonderful flashmob of writers at Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday; please visit to be inspired and awed!

I'm writing ahead - again - because I don't know if I'll be up to writing when the week's keyword is revealed. I'm not entirely sure I'll be alive, because I stopped breathing again, and had to be revived.

Being conscious during the process is scary.

So, here goes, and I'll try to work in the keyword later if I can.

(It's FRIEND.)

The past few days have been physically the roughest yet. If you'd like to know what it's like, imagine the worst flu you've ever had, chest pain and fever and shortness of breath and fatigue, with two strong men punching you, one just below the liver, and the other from the back, corresponding to the same spot.

Pain does not come as a friend.

You don't get used to this, ever, and life becomes episodic. Life flickers.

Caught between now and some other place, I sometimes hear distant music, too faint to even characterize in genre but infinitely appealing.

In the midst of the dreadful smells of vomit and worse, there's suddenly a smell of flowers under a bright springtime sun, and the cool tang of a sea breeze.

The pain will pull me back...but them something forces it to loosen its grip.

Is it God? I think so, though I'm not having visions of Jesus or hearing Scripture or seeing any golden streets.

There are those who would call these buried memories, dredged up when the body weakens and consciousness wanes. Oxygen deprivation and all that.

Bless their pseudo-scientific little socks, but these folks are all wet. I've been oxy-deprived; this ain't that.

I've been unconscious (badly concussed many times), and it's not that, either.

And it's not dreaming; my dreams are generally unpleasant memories involving getting shot at, or pleasant memories of shooting back. With visible results.

These flickers through the brutal facts of life are coming from outside.

They're not a road-map or a prophecy or a promise, as near as I can tell.

They're a brief balm, gently administered to keep my head in the game.

But that's just the what. What's interesting is the why.

I think it's pretty simple; I'm kept in the game so that I can say, without a doubt, that even in the midst of ferocious pain and fading hope, life is still worth living.

Not so much for "me waiting for my miracle", but for the love I can spread. For the kindnesses I can offer through my hands and heart and eyes, even though speech is now beyond me.

For the love. Because, dear reader, I love you. It's not a Kumbaya let's-have-a-group-hug moment, and it's not an "I love my Christian brothers and sisters!" thing. I love you as much for being a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Muslim or an atheist.

See, we all share things; we all share the ability to be hurt, and to have relief from pain.

I love you enough that I want your pain, whatever it is, to be relieved.

I was once a hard and selfish man; I am still a harder man than one whose company you would find comfortable. Don't drop by for a visit; you would not like me.

But I want you to be happy, to find bright and shining gems of happiness in everyday sorrow and tragedy.

And I am honoured to dedicate my remaining strength to that end.

And, yeah. I would die for you. And I will.


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.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


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.

















39 comments:

  1. Oh, wow, Andrew. My heart goes out to you and Barb. This post almost got me crying and it just might yet. You are such a blessing to this #fmf community and beyond. I'm so happy to call you my friend. You have taught me much in these past few months. May God wrap you in His arms of love and comfort. Love to you, brother.

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    1. Gayl, thank you for this. I'm honoured beyond measure, and grateful for your friendship!

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  2. Andrew!! I am so glad to find your post tonight. You are on my heart often, and I am thrilled to connect right now. Thank you for your words and for your heart and for your effort to remind us all to find the joy every day. however small, it is there and it is worth finding. always.

    Sending hugs and smiles and flecks of joy from our corner of the world in Virginia.

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    1. Jen, I truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Today was especially vicious, but nonetheless, hope and joy are where one chooses to find them. And I so choose.

      Hugs, smiles and joy back to you, from all of us here.

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  3. Andrew, thank you. Thank you for being real, even when the real is ugly, and painful. thank you for being real in your encouragements and in your reminders of hope. Thank you for being real in your testimony of how you're walking out this horrible time. You are an inspiration.

    Know that I continue to pray for you, Barb and the dogs. Praying hard tonight.

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    1. Jeanne, Thanks for this. I'm just so grateful to still be here, and to find that as things get much worse physically, I can still look to the Lord with delight.

      We really, really appreciate the prayers.

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  4. One of the best things we can leave others who are friends that have never met is a testimony that lives on and which will still touch the hearts of others over and over again. Thank you.

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    1. Sharon, you're so right...and the host of friends I've met through this forum, and whom I will likely never meet in this life, have done so very much to keep me going, keep me looking up!

      I'm grateful that you're here.

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  5. Thanks for articulating some of the emotions behind a devastating loss. I really appreciate the real qualities of your struggle and I have totally been there! I agree that we can identify more strongly with those who hurt- even if our hurts are not the same. #4 at #fmf

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    1. Thank you for this, Amy; and you're so right. Hurt can breed deep compassion.

      Thank you for being here!

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  6. Thankful for friends - both in real life and through this crazy internet - who share life's hurts and joys....

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    1. Annie, absolutely - friends are a celebration!

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  7. Wow Andrew! This post brought me to tears. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Pain is not a welcome friend. But life is indeed worth living. I want to share that kind of kindness and love too. I'm in the 35 spot this week.

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    1. Tara, thanks so much...and while pain is not a friend, sometimes an enemy can be a powerful teacher.

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  8. Thanks for your honesty in sharing, Andrew, and for the concern and love you show to others in the midst of your pain and suffering. You are a blessing to this community. Praying for you!

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    1. Lesley, thank you...and this community has blessed me beyond my dreams. I don't know where I would be without the love and support from FMF.

      We so appreciate the prayers!

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  9. Andrew, you are a true hero, helping all of us in spite what you're enduring yourself.
    Your courage is truly inspiring.

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    1. Jan, I have no words, but thank you. Truly. I so appreciate this.

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  10. Thank you for writing again this week -- for giving so much of yourself, even when it's so difficult, so that we can benefit. That is true friendship. I look forward to thanking you in person one distant day.

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    1. Jeannie, I look forward to that meeting too...I suspect it will be in that place where we all enjoy eternal and perfect health, and hugs won't hurt (that's one thing that's kind of lost to me now).

      Thank you so much for your presence here.

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  11. Thank you, friend. You encourage me and challenge me every time I read here. I'm not always able to comment, but I do read every post you write. Thank you for giving of yourself, in the midst of your pain, to reach out to friends across the internet. You are a blessing to many. Praying for you and Barbara today.

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    1. Rachel, you're always in my prayers, and I look forward to your posts...they are always so faith-filled and uplifting. I get so much from your writing.

      We truly appreciate the prayers. The past 24 hours have been kind of dreadful.

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  12. Maybe the distant music and the flowers and fragrance that are flickering along with life is just plain grace in the midst of the inevitable. And you may die but it won't be for me. Someone already did and for you to. And for the Buddhist, the Muslim and everyone else in-between. Praying that your pain will continue to be laced with grace. Jesus is your friend, no matter how hard you get. The loving is on him. #50 this week.

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    1. Mary, thanks so much, and I love the expression 'pain laced with grace'. That's exactly right, and just perfect!

      Jesus is with me...and I'm so glad you're here, too!

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  13. Excellent and superb post of "Your Dying Spouse 285 - The Brutal Flickering {FMF}"

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  14. Dear Andrew,
    I felt the breathe feel knocked out of me as I sensed the depth of your pain. I'm glad that you aren't gone yet. Though I wish this pain was not yours to bare. We do like you, whether we've met in real life or not...you might be rough around the edges, but we need that here ;) You are a blessing each time we hear from you brother.
    Janel

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    1. Janel, thanks...and I'm glad to still be here, even though it was kind of in doubt for the past 24 hours (especially last night).

      I'm glad you like me. Thank you for that.

      I am SO BLESSED by you, and by this wonderful community!

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  15. andrew, i'm praying for you as you go through this pain and difficulty. May GOD be with you as you go through this. we also pray for you Barb. this can't be easy for you. we'll be praying for you both...for the GOOD Shepherd to be with you both.

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    1. martha, you've got it right. It's hard for both of us, and perhaps harder for Barbara as she can only watch. There's so little anyone can really do, now. Once the doctors give up, it's kind of bad.

      But not hopeless, and certainly not joyless!

      Thank you so much for the prayers. We truly appreciate them.

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  16. I'm so glad to know that even though you face incredible pain each day, Andrew, you still feel that life is worth living. That says a lot about your heart and who you are, my friend. A weaker soul would be bitter in these last days of life. Holding you and Barbara up in my prayers every single day! And thanking God that you still are able to speak into the world your words of encouragement and wisdom.

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    1. Beth, thank you so much...I'm not sure how strong my soul is, but I mentioned to Barbara just last night that I'm far too weak to carry either bitterness or resentment. Those are such heavy burdens!

      We sure appreciate the prayers, and I will praise God and celebrate His manifold blessings right up to the end. I promise.

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  17. I am sorry for your pain. I am always amazed at your posts and still find it mind boggling that you can and do still write that life is worth living in the midst of such turmoil. Thank you for sharing always. I am not sure how to pray for you, but I pray. Blessings and grace to you and Barbara.

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    1. Leigh, thank you for this. I'm touched and humbled by your kind words.

      Any sort of prayer is appreciated...it's been a really tough few days, and the 'prayer updraft' is really welcome.

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  18. Andrew, I'm glad you are alive. Alive to write words and feel feels and connect with me in this brave way: "I love you as much for being a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Muslim or an atheist." YES! All day, yes! So glad to have stopped by. Sending all the hugs! My Muslim and atheist friends, no doubt, are sending them too. :) And, thank you for being alive.

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    1. Carolina, thank you! I truly appreciate prayer from all quarters...and honestly, I need them. Things are kind of bad.

      But I'm glad I'm alive too, because the worse it hurts, the more I appreciate the good moments...or even the good seconds! Weird, huh?

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  19. Andrew,
    if you have the strength to watch a movie, "Miracles from Heaven" is more of a film for the emotional person, but the last 10-15 minutes where they portray the girl's experience in Heaven was amazing. I think Barb would really like it!
    The way they portray the colors and the sounds, it made me want out of here.
    So, perhaps you've been given the gift to plant the longing in our hearts for something greater and not to dwell on the mundane and temporary beauty here.
    I hate that you're in pain, but still, I am so ever grateful to see your post every week!
    Each day you write is a gift to those of us blessed to know you here.
    :)
    Love,
    Tammy

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    1. Tammy, thanks for the recommend. 'Miracles From Heaven' will probably be right up Barb's alley, and I'll watch it with her.

      I hope and pray that I can plant the longing for something far more beautiful than we can ever experience here...and also the desire to cherish every moment here, because God placed us in this life for a reason.

      Love back, from me and Barb and all the critters!

      And...your lovely V-Day gifts are prominently displayed in our living room - please tell the girls!

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  20. Andrew, Your honesty through your writing bears blessings to others. Your sharing of these transitions in the flesh bear witness to the mystery of our Creator. As much as we like, we simply cannot understand everything. What a gift that you are given.

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