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Thursday, March 31, 2022

For Those Worse Off

I was feeling sorry for myself. It was kind of a bad week. Lots of pain, fatigue, internal bleeding that hasn't stopped yet, and something like a coma on Tuesday.

Then I heard about Bruce Willis. He's been diagnosed with aphasia (a disorder that affects communication, the use of language, and memory), is having cognitive issues, and has retired from acting. There are therapies; there's no cure.

Now, I don't know Mr. Willis personally, but I do think that one sees something of the man in the characters an actor portrays, and it's consistent with what little I've read about him. He's been said to be hard to work with. That's been said about me.

Maybe I should be thinking about people in Ukraine, or about starving African orphans ("Eat your broccoli! There are kids in Sudan who would be thrilled to have your dinner!"). But I don't know them. They're an abstraction.

And I don't know anyone personally who's got cancer, or something like it.

So, an actor. There's an illusion of familiarity that perhaps bespeaks something deeper. I don't know what it is, and couldn't define it if I did. But it's something that's true.

And so, I'm really, really sorry. And I am humbled; yes, I have cancer, yes, I am exhausted, in pain, and incontinent, but there are worse things in life, and Bruce Willis' family is going through that right now.

I thank God for the blessings in my life, with all my heart. 

I know that it seems terrible,
and it's all unjust;
but, my friend, be careful,
for one day you must
stand before the Throne of Grace,
relive your whole life through,
and here you will come face to face
with those worse off than you,
and tell God what you did and thought;
did you help with gentle care?
All the times when you could not,
did you hold them up in prayer,
or did you leave love on the shelf
and feel sorry for yourself?

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is COFFEE. Oh, joy.

Coffee used to be my thing,
I would drink eighteen cups a day,
never knowing it would bring
a time when there'd be hell to pay,
when I had gone out on a stroll
(do not smile, this isn't funny!),
and as guts began to roll
I was too far from a dunny,
but I did not want to soil
my pants, and let alone my pride,
so I bent to task and toil
that with God's grace I might hide
the subsequent wild anal blast
from all those who might have passed.

Five minutes flat. Deal with it.

Here's one of Bruce Willis' best, and most understated scenes, from RED 2.

Sylvia would share her ice cream with Mr. Willis, if she could.



  1. I hooted at your poem (it is way too fitting) and yes, I heard about Bruce Willis too and felt so saddened for him and his family.

    1. Annette, I'm so glad you like the coffee poem...and we have been praying for the Willis family.

  2. Strange how we each have, or develop, the ability to cope with different things, or think that we can only cope with certain troubles. I had a patient who had MND who was so grateful she didn't have cancer! Then there are the people who tell me I'm an angel for working in palliative care - but it just suits my skills and temperament - I was a fish out of water in Learning Disabilities so I have immense respect for those who do work there. I wonder if the Willis family will develop the same fortitude you have, Andrew?
    God bless

    1. Liz, I'd be terrified of MND. Cancer's at least an enemy I can see, so to speak

      And I agree with those who say you're an angel, working in palliative care. Awesome, that someone has you there.

  3. ((((Andrew))))

    Thank you!

    Annie in Texas

  4. Two poems back to back...the bitter and the sweet! Glad the sweet came after. Mercy poured over both. Hard not to have cry-days. Today is one for me. Cryday Friday. God does know we are dust. Prayers ever Andrew....

    1. Mary, I am so sorry that it took this long to answer your comment. Please know you're in my prayers.

      The tears will come, but as the sunshine follows the storm, there will be joy.

  5. What a wonderful take on prioritizing what is really important!

    1. Barb, thank you for this. I am finding that prioritization is everything.

  6. I heard about Bruce Willis as well and had to look up what aphasia was. I do know people who have cancer and people who have had cancer. It's not easy for the person who has it, nor is it easy for their family. I think we all have our crosses to bear and some are WAY harder than others, but no matter what, we need to try to find the good moments in each day, otherwise we will be steeped in negativity. Prayers for you.

    1. Cindy, for me, cancer's easy, but I spent much of my life where sudden violent death was the norm. I have never attended a funeral for someone who died of natural causes.

      For Barb, not so much. This is much harder for her than for me.

  7. Yes, so many are struggling with serious physical, emotional, spiritual challenges, friend. Sometimes it feels like a very lonely road ... 'til we look around and see all the weary and heavy-laden all around us.

    1. Linda, for me cancer was a lonely road, until I looked up, and saw God at my side.

      There is more to write here, but I don't yet know how.

  8. I'm sure Sylvia would indeed share her ice cream. Perspective does wonders...but it does not negate the struggles you are going through. Praying for you as well. Here's to a good week ahead!!

    1. Jennifer, you're right. Perspective doesn't negate the pain.

      It does make it easier to bear.

  9. I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Willis's diagnosis. I can't imagine someone who has spent his adult life using words for a particular effect not having them reliably any more.

    I am sorry for your diagnosis, too. I've known many people with cancer--a former pastor with pancreatic and liver cancer, another former pastor's six-year-old grandson with leukemia. Horrible, horrible disease.

    I guess every diagnosis has its horrors. I'm convinced every life has its struggles and sorrows, whether physical, relational, emotional, financial, or whatever.

    I don't like illustrations that put words in God's mouth, but there was one that did help me a bit: suppose a man brought his cross before the Lord and lamented that it was just too heavy. God, in the story, told the man to go pick another cross. So the man wandered among all the available crosses and finally chose one--and it was the cross he had originally come in with.

    There are things other people go through that I just can't imagine dealing with. Other people's trials don't minimize our own. But they open our eyes. God's will isn't easy, but His grace is sufficient.

    1. Barbara, your illustration of the man choosing his original cross is spot-on. It parallels my life.

      I would not have chosen cancer, but I would not now trade it for all the riches of the world.

      It's forced me to evaluate not only my relationship with God, but my relationships in this world, and has forced me, I hope, to be better.

  10. No one is immune, we live in a fallen world. It's what we do with it. Andrew, you are a brave and courageous man and I am honored to call you friend. (((xo)))

    1. And I, Susan, am honoured by your friendship.

      Yes, two Chihuahuas. They run the house now.

      XOXOXOXO....aw, gee, I run right out of x's and O's.

      We love you.

  11. I'm sad to hear it has been a hard week. Gratitude is always beautiful, "I thank God for the blessings in my life, with all my heart." May you have a grace-filled week, Andrew.

    1. Lisa, thank you...it was a hard week, and this one's been worse (two comatose periods!) but I am happy.

      Joy is not circumstance. Joy is salvation.

  12. Andrew, I'm sorry the days are so difficult and painful. I so appreciate your perspective about holding compassion in our hearts for those who have more to deal with than we do. And, when we can do something to do so. I have been praying for the Willis family too. Such a difficult path for them to walk. You and Barb have been in my prayers, my friend.

    1. Jeanne, two comas in a week, but I am OK. I have God here.

      I pray for everyone who's scared, because I really do understand fear.

      And we are so grateful for your prayers!

  13. I guess we all have something to suffer and God has enough grace to carry each of us through. So sad for Bruce Willis and family.

    I had a very good laugh at your coffee poem and enjoy your sense of humor so much!