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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 557 - Christmas Chiaroscuro {FMF}

I wrote the sonnet below as a comment on Steve Laube's brilliant blog post on the real meaning of Christmas, that in Christ is found the answer to our greatest longing.


Did Mary know Isaiah’s gist

and did her pure heart quail
to see each soft and perfect wrist
rent by an iron nail?
Or was she somehow shielded
from what must one day be?
Were the terrors gently fielded
by God as she took a knee?
I’d like to think He gave her
both peace and wisdom too;
her Christmas Night made sweeter
by what she must pass through.
It’s bittersweet chiaroscuro, this story
where the shadow gives the light its glory.


I think there's a bit of this on the cancer journey, too. I see a situation that deteriorates every day, with nights that are frankly brutal and days that are worse.

And yet...the enveloping quality of the darkness makes the lights in my life all the brighter. The love of my wife and my friends and my dogs, the small physical victories of fabricating a piece of faceless steel into something useful, and the glory of the stars shimmering in a frosty sky...

I took these for granted before.

I see them now not because I likely won't be around to see them for long, but because their intrinsic beauty and wonder is clearer now.

No longer is the light of my own ego isn't competing with the light of God's blessings.

Here's my very favourite Christmas carol, Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls. I hope you'll enjoy it.



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.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.



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.








32 comments:

  1. Been thinking a lot about this very thing lately... know that I have let myself become overwhelmed with the dark, and have forgotten to build up some faith muscles and concentrate only on the flickering starlight that is so stinkin' beautiful BECAUSE of the dark. ... "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ... but yes, it is bittersweet that that shadow gives the light its glory. Looking forward to the day when that will no longer be the case. Shine on, sir! Praying for his strength to do just that.

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  2. Jane, it is indeed bittersweet...but I suspect that is a result of the Fall, that it HAS to be bittersweet. Does that make sense?

    Thank you so much for being here, and for your prayers; we are praying for you.

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  3. Andrew, you've been a very beautiful star for me these last few months. I will miss your twinkle this side of heaven- but I want you to know you have helped me ... to having done all : stand. To be committed to holding fast to all the whatsoevers of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, worthy of praise and pondering. To embrace all this stinkin' humanity that this fallen world, this fallen ME, finds me in- and hold fast (but really, isn't it just letting ourselves be held?) to the One that is True. Thank you.

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    1. Jane, thank YOU, from the bottom of my heart. I'm honoured beyond measure.

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  4. so much we take for granted until our perspective is changed eh? So much changes then....

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    1. You're so right, Annette

      We wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

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  5. Gifted, you are (said in my best Yoda voice). Grateful, I am.
    "Her Christmas Night made sweeter, by what she must pass through." Sigh. Yes, amen. May your Christmas Night be made sweeter, as you know what you have and will pass through... God's grace is radiant in you.

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    1. Jenn, honoured me you have!

      Thank you so much, and have a lovely Christmas.

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  6. You are a true wordsmith. I read you with dictionary in hand. Isn't it a blessing that we got to meet THIS SIDE of heaven? Blessed. Now, the big question, GOO GOO DOLLS? xo

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    1. Exactly this! And Amen... Goo Goo Dolls!? LOVED it!

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    2. Susan, thank you so much! And, yeah, it's a weird name, but the music' pretty awesome.

      And I treasure our meeting, and revisit it daily in memory. XOXOXO

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    3. Karrilee, I am so glad you enjoyed 'Better Days'; when I first heard it it just stopped me.

      Merry Christmas!

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  7. Andrew, I so appreciated your words this morning. It truly is in His light that all else is eclipsed. Grateful you shared today.

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    1. Joanne, thank you so much; I'm so glad that my words could brighten your morning.

      We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  8. I've not heard the song "Better Days" before. Thank you for sharing this and your words. Yes, the light of our egos gets in the way of the one true light. Praying today that I can get out of the way and let God shine.

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    1. Patricia, I'm so glad you liked the song!

      That light of ego, it can sure be bright. Mine was blinding, for a long time.

      Have a terrific, joyous Christmas!

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  9. The sonnet is amazing! I'm glad you're still with us and still sharing your wisdom. Praying for you this Christmas!

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    1. Lesly, thank you so much; I'm glad to be here still, as well.

      Thank you so much for your prayers, and we wish you the merriest of Christmases!

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  10. Thank you for finding the strength to share your heart with us. Pain reduces us to the barest essentials, doesn't it? Through your pain you are reminding me to cut through the fluff and bless God for real beauty and joy.

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    1. Vicki, you're sure right; pain does cut us down to the bone...and if we let Him, God can rebuild us even better than we were.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  11. You are a gift friend! Beautiful sonnet.

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    1. Thank you, Tara! And do you know, when you open the dictionary to 'blessing', your picture is there.

      We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  12. Andrew, I read your post first thing this morning but couldn't put into words what I felt; I've tried several times, and here it is, 9 p.m. my time, and all I can say is that, as always, you touch me beyond words. Praying for you and your wife today and every day.

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    1. Patti, thank you so much...your words do me high honour, and I am grateful.

      Thank you so much for the prayers, and we hope you have a joyous Christmas!

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  13. Thinking of you daily, Andrew and Barbara. I'm in small town hospital with my 90 year old mother who fell and broke her elbow. Osteoporosis meant surgery was difficult (eight screws and a plate, and surgeon orders not to move the arm for two weeks). Praying for peaceful hours without unbearable pain for you. Hugs from Annie in Texas

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    1. Oh, Annie! We're praying for you, and your Grandmother. Strangely, a dear friend of Barb's fell and broke her right radius and ulna, and ankle. The arm needed screws and a plate, too, and now she's back in hospital with a staph infection. Barb has been with her through the weekend, and today, and will be there tomorrow too, to support her friend and the friend's very frightened husband.

      And that is as it should be; I'm OK here, and hardly lonely with eighteen dogs and one insanely brave cat.

      ((((((Hugs back!)))))) And the most joyous Christmas that circumstances allow.

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  14. Ah, this, Andrew -->'the shadow gives the light its glory.'

    No true words were spoken. And during this season where the shadows seem deeper and darker, may you spy sparks of comfort and joy.

    Christmas blessings to you, lovely Barbara's, and the faithful lads ...

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    1. Linda, there is joy in every moment, because God's in every moment. That's how I see it. And His Light is always enough to set my path.

      Christmas blessings back, from all of us.

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  15. Andrew, I wish for you the strength you need to get through this; the courage of a St. Paul, the humility of a Mother Mary, the fortitude of a shepherd boy turned king, King David, and the faith of an Abraham, who believed with a remarkable steadfastness in God's promises to him. I pray for Barbara, for the enablement she needs to deal with the variable aspects of your illness. Her's is the journey of a braveheart. Living with the tension this creates must be draining for her. It's admirable of her. I prayed for you and her this morning, that your needs will be met how ever God wishes to do it. May your day be blessed.

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    1. My dear Norma, thank you so much for this lovely, heartfelt blessing of good wishes! We're so grateful, and our prayers and thoughts ride with you, too.

      And may your Christmas be blessed!

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  16. Dear Andrew & Barbara,
    May you know all the invisible blessings of Christmas!
    *God sent His son, the best gift!
    *The cradle leads to the cross... Life leads to death... Then resurrection light in Christ!
    *It was all for love
    * "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he because poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich"~~2 Corinthians 8:9

    Praying for you all, wishing much true Christmas joy and peace.

    Love from SC, Kathryn

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    1. kathryn, this is a wonderful description, and the Scripture is perfect.

      Love back, and we wish you a joyous Christmas.

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