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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 287 - Spiritual Buoyancy

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please visit Beth's site for some great wisdom and resources.

When things get dark, either for you as a caregiver, patient, or concerned friend or relative, how do you keep your spiritual buoyancy?

How do you keep your head above the roiling sea of despair, and how do you find the strength to reach for Christ's hand and walk on the waves with Him?

I think it's very much an individual thing, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. We can take suggestions, and follow advice, but in the end we have to find in our own hearts that hope floats.

I've been both caregiver and patient, and I can tell you what I do. I hope that it will help you or someone you know in some way, or at least give some hints of where you might look.

As a patient -

  • I try, every day, to accomplish at least small things, like writing this blog (and Starting the Day with Grace)and leaving comments on others' blogs. My writing is driven by faith, and particularly by a desire to help bolster others' faith...so helping other folks helps me.
  • On weekdays, I email a prayer to Barbara, timed to reach her as she arrives at work (I can't talk on a phone any more, so email's it). The prayer's specific to what she's facing at work). At lunch I email her some Scripture, and I do take some time over finding something appropriate. It has to be short - she has little time - but the effort to help her, again, helps me.
  • I am ruthless about eliminating faith-damaging media. If a book or movie gives me the wrong feeling, I'll drop it without a qualm, however 'valuable' it may be. And the only news outlet to which I listen is Fox. I've got no interest in hearing my faith assailed.
  • While meditating on individual Bible verses doesn't help me, I do think about Jesus' human life, His message, and His divinity. The total picture makes more of an impact on me.
  • CIGARS. There is something spiritual in the way the smoke from a cigar rises, something ethereal. And no, I am not making this up. When I smoke a cigar I feel a little bit closer to God. Economy generally forces me to smoke cheap ones (which aren't bad), but the creme de la creme, for me, is the Drew Estates 'Acid' Blondie Belicoso. It has a hit of vanilla, and a smoothness that soothes the pain in my pancreas.
When I was a caregiver -
  • I tried to attend church regularly. It could be hard, and often I had to pick the closest...which happened to be a mosque. The imam was cool, and made me welcome to pray in my own way, in a setting of reverence.
  • I read a lot of Christian apologetics, beginning with C.S. Lewis. I read anything and everything I could find to define and strengthen my faith.
  • And I held onto the thought that there would be a life after caregiving. It made me uncomfortable, because the caregiving would end in death, but I was sincere about carrying the revelations I received into the new life that would open, and occasionally I did just that.
What about you? What do you do when you find faith fleeting?

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.


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.


  1. I'm also a fan of C.S. Lewis! I don't really enjoy reading apologetics, but I love everything he writes.

    1. Michele, C.S. Lewis truly RULES. And yeah, some of his apologetics can be tough sledding...

      Thanks so much for being here!

  2. Thank you for continuing to bolster our faith journeys. Pointing us to God strengthens all of us.

  3. I didn't know you'd been a caregiver, Andrew. I've always considered your perspective on the caregiver as observations you'd seen through Barbara's life and care with you. I find fun to learn new things about my friends, so that's definitely one that's new about you! And I agree with every point you've made. I especially love that you send prayers and verses to Barbara at certain times of the day. What a gift and this inspires me to follow your example with my own spouse. I don't do this with him and I think it would be so encouraging! Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Beth, yeah, the caregiving I did is something I don't talk about much - or think about much. It was intense, dealing with someone with physical and severe mental problems.

      I'm glad you like the prayer-and-verse-sharing idea! It's something to which I look forward each day, even when B is too busy to respond.

      So glad you're here!

  4. I agree about blocking faith-blasting media. If a movie or TV show leaves an "icky" taste in my *heart*, I stop watching.

    I do not appreciate the smell of cigars...But, we all need something to enjoy, and I'm glad there's something to ease your pain and help you relax.

    I think it is wonderful that you were able to worship at a mosque and maintain your Christian faith. I have developed some habits that originate in eastern faiths, but I use them to strengthen my Christian faith. I do not recommend it to everyone, as I am reminded of Paul cautioning believers that they should set an example to those of weaker faith and not put obstacles in the way. I think that new Christians might be easily swayed to Buddhism or Taoism if they tried meditation without knowing the gift of prayer and grace first!

    1. Red, I hear you, and understand very well about the 'icky' feeling some media can leave. I rarely watch PBS for that reason.

      I can sure understand not liking the smell of cigars...I mean, I do, but I can't abide cigarettes. But cigars are wonderfully effective as a pallative for pain. That was unexpected.

      I was and am a Zen Buddhist (which is not contradictory to being a Christian, as Zen is a way of living, and not a faith), but you're absolutely right - this approach is not for everyone. It can be quite dangerous, and can become a faith-end-in-itself. Not good.

      Thanks so much for being here!