Not a fell honour, nor a severe mercy, but really, a bright, burnished gift of gold and rubies, sparkling in the sun.
OK, Andrew's had way too much fun with the medicinal marijuana, yeah...
Sorry. I don't use the stuff. Nor opioids.
The thing is, you see a lot further when you sit on a giant's shoulders...and because my legs gave way long since, I'm riding on God's shoulders.
I can see vistas of which I never dreamt. Views into a reality that I never thought dying could contain.
Like the preciousness of experience.
Pain hurts, and as I write this, it hurts like, pardon me, a son-of-a-bitch. Under the arms, in the chest, in the belly, and in the groin (lymph nodes)...and oh, yeah, in the neck, and a fever of 103...again, for I've had the bloody fever for a couple of weeks...Barbara rightly says that no one would want this.
In the chiaroscuro of life, though, against the flaming darkness of pain, there is the joy.
Yesterday, a black labrador puppy turned up on our doorstep at one o'clock in the morning (as Barbara was ensuring that I did not throw up upon the sofa). And his presence brought light; all of the other dogs fell in love with him, and as I wept in pain, he crawled into my arms and said, "Hug me, and I will make it all better!"
Which worked, by the way. His worried parents did come for him, but he will be back for doggie play-dates.
And in the endless Sisyphean task of building an aeroplane from raw materials - steel and wood and cotton fabric...I was able to lay out a part, one that I will have to husband the strength to be able to cut and form.
And the goal-posts are so far away to actually finish and fly the thing. (I mean, I'd need a miraculous healing to fly it, yeah?)
But doing something meant something.
In years past, I would have scoffed at my feeble effort. But now, any step is a step.
And every step means Hope.
I've been privileged to see the real truth of these...
Faith...knowing that what I am enduring means something and can be poured out, if I'll let God do the pouring. It's not about me. It's about you, you who are reading this. It may sound kinda presumptuous, but I'm living for you. I'm writing to tell you that faith is never futile.
Hope...hope really isn't the belief that one will somehow win through...I mean, there are winners and losers. And while it is hope in the Eternal, that's not what I'm talking about. The Hope that God has given to my vision is that while I may lose, while I may not achieve my goals, the words I leave will inspire others...you...to keep going. Even if you fail, you don't fail in a vacuum, and the hope you carry is the seed for another's best efforts.
Love...the only things I ever did that were worthwhile, I did for love. Not romantic love, and not the altruistic love that sends food to Mogadishu (though that's important!). It's the love that binds us all together in God's Heart, the love that says, I'll protect you, and if need be, I'll die so that you can see another sunrise. It's the love that says, you...dear reader, dear stranger...dear lost and scared Labrador puppy...you're worth everything I have.
Because you are God's, and everything I have belongs to God.
Music from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (yes, really), with Remember Me.
Everybody gets their hearts broken;
get off your knees and try again.
Please pardon my slow response to comments. I do my best, and your comments are really precious to me. Barb is answering many of them now. I'm running on fumes, if you don't mind a macho metaphor.
I'm grateful for the energy to have written this. I'm so glad Barbara's stepped in for many of my posts. I'm really not doing well at all.
Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.
Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.
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.