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.
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.
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.