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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Refugee From Silence

This post might have been about another trip to the edge, an out-of-body experience, and hours of the shakes, from just this Monday.

Belle and the Chihuahuas and Red the Red Heeler brought me back with much yelling and rib-cracking CPR.

But it's been overtaken by events.

So let's talk about Henry instead, a deaf Pit Bull puppy (80 lbs at seven months) who really needed a home.

Now he's got one (in the picture below he's being welcomed by Belle The Service Wolf).

He's friendly beyond words, and just wants to be around us, and around his new canine family.

And he has a job. He's attuned to me, and knows that if I fall, he's to brace that strong back to help me up.

The Chihuahuas absolutely LOVE him. So does everyone else.

He deserves it.

God has said we should take in
the at-our-doorstep waif,
and so I think this is a win
that Henry now is safe.
The world is not so very kind
to a Pit who cannot hear,
and so my wife was called to mind
what He made crystal clear
when told of Henry's dreadful plight,
refugee from a silent world,
and so she went to shine a light
that he could know, and led him toward
a gentle and forgiving place
where he could live his life in grace.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is SHOW, and here's a paean to the dogs that lately saved my life, incorporating the prompt.

I don't like to go to sleep,
night shows me what I'd fain not know,
for instead counting sheep
I may count flowers from below.
Belle, Red, and ChiChis do agree,
for yesterday I passed away,
and rather than in panic flee,
the dogs stepped up to win the day.
The Boys were screaming in my face
giving all, their very best,
while Belle The Wolf gave saving grace
with hard compressions on my chest,
so therefore I am back again
and enjoined thus to remain.

Just under four minutes.

If you are wondering what canine CPR looks like, I found a video. 

Clearly I didn't see it from this angle, didn't see it at all, in fact, but could feel it through the mist. Belle The Service Wolf is not small.

Sylvia's willing to share her ice cream with him. Maybe.


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Dancing On The Edge Of Forever

This was originally intended to be quite a different post (pertaining to the lovely evening picture above, which Barb took from our front door), but coming back from near death earlier today... well, that may be worth a few words.

It was a hard experience. I realized, very suddenly, that I was about to go down very hard, and, vision fading, managed to lunge across my bed.

There followed a period of passing in and out of awareness, and I can liken it to drowning (I was once trapped beneath seaweed when diving).

I became too weak to fight, and handed the situation over to God...and gradually my breath came back, and I could, later, see again.

Barb came home from lunch shortly thereafter, and was horrified to find me ice-cold, with pale, and with very poor veinous return at the fingernails.

Now, several hours later, I'm as shaky as a shopping cart with a bad wheel.

And what does it mean? What's the lesson from this terrifying morning?

God is.

No matter how proud, nay, arrogant we are in our own strength (I have cornered the market, here), there's a limit.

And there God stands, shaking His head, perhaps rolling His eyes, sleeves pulled up, ready to work.

Perhaps to put you back, perhaps to take you home.

Or something in between.

He holds all the cards.

I paid out in arrogance
far more than I could fain afford,
and, as if in recompense
I was forced unto the Lord,
unwillingly into His arms,
where He smiling bade me hide,
safe from earthly harms,
but not from that which lurked inside.
'Twas pride that led me to resist
in my heart, with pious face,
and it's hard, with tight-closed fist
to receive the gentle grace
that the Lord so wants to give
through every moment that we live.

Music from Soundgarden, with Live To Rise.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is VIEW. Let's take a look.

Come and visit us, right here,
yes, we do mean you!
My friend, we hold your friendship dear,
so let's enjoy the view.
A mountain range lies to the east
across the desert plain,
and its best matches its least
when peaks are clothed in rain.
Un-named mesas in the west
will shine red in the morning light,
and receive the sun in rest
at the fall of night.
But beauty goes on, have no doubt;
just wait 'till all the stars come out!

Four minutes. Good enough.

Sylvia learned long ago that trading pride for ice cream is a good exchange,
and that ice cream presents a lovely view.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

What 'Terminal' Feels Like

One of the most frequently asked questions about terminal cancer is... what does it FEEL like, knowing that you're under a death sentence, date of execution unknown?

It was hard to answer until I had an epiphany while watching Pirates Of The Caribbean. No, the revelation did not involve rum. Unfortunately.

What It's Like is walking the plank, blindfolded. You can't stop, let alone go back, and you don't know if the very next step might be a really long one.

It's incumbent on a Christian to say, I'm falling into the arms of Jesus!, and while this is my secure belief, the truth is that we have to go through a one-way door to get there. We can believe what's behind the door, but we can't SEE it, and that's scary.

Normally, when at least reasonably healthy, we put it off, channeling Scarlett O'Hara... I'll think about that tomorrow.

But for me, and for many, many others, it's tomorrow.

(For the record, another common question is How Have You Lasted This Long...I don't know, but Olivia Newton John fought cancer for thirty years. Quite an inspiration.)

Each footfall's further in the dark,
over the vast abyss,
dominion of the hungry shark
(am I on his to-do list?).
I don't know where the plank will end,
and though I tread with care,
there's courage I just can't pretend
for when I step, and nothing's there,
and so I lift my shrouded eyes
unto the Lord who reigns above,
somewhere beyond the darkling skies,
that He might look down with love
that when that final step is taken,
I land in His palm, unforsaken.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is FORGET. Had something in mind, but I already forgot. My brain's like a shelf without a rear wall; put something on the front, something falls off the back.

Well, here goes.

It's easy to forget 'bout God
when things are going well,
but we remember (oh, how odd!)
when life goes straight to hell,
and we cry out, "Catch me, Lord!"
with all our strength and might
when we think we're spinning toward
an endless Stygian night.
I wouldn't blame ol' God at all
if He laughed and turned away,
but He will not let us fall
on this or any day,
so He lends faith we can borrow
'till He's ignored again tomorrow.

Four minutes. Does it show?

I couldn't find a musical accompaniment the fit with walking the plank, but here's Tightrope Walk, by The Damned, set to stunning scenes from 'The Walk', a film about Phillipe Petit's high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Centre.

Sylvia knows she's in God's hand, and that hand holds ICE CREAM!



Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Embrace Is The Test

I used to think of myself as a warrior, and of cancer as the enemy.

Didn't realize I could be that dumb.

No, cancer's not pleasant (and having a perpetually broken arm due to metastasis kinda sucks), but it's real, it's what's there...and it's not personal.

Fighting it as if it was a kind of single-combat knightly joust was helpful for awhile, but in the end it was draining.

Learning to embrace this experience, however much I might prefer it to be something else...it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

It's also the most rewarding, because I can, at last, clearly see and feel the blessings in which I have been daily bathed.

I did not see this truth at first,
but know now it's a test:
if you cannot embrace the worst,
you won't accept the best.
This life's a chiaroscuro game,
light and shade defines the rules,
and in our hearts we find the same,
saints and beggars, knaves and fools,
and thus we must take in the whole, drink it down without a flinch
to nourish an expanding soul,
ounce by ounce and inch by inch
until we come to gifted right
that Christ bought, eternal light.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is TOGETHER. Hmmm...

Together we have got this far,
together we have chased the sun,
together we have wrecked a bar
or three, just while having fun.
Together we have danced in glee,
together we have wept in sorrow,
but now I fear that there will be
no 'together' on the morrow.
I think I will be leaving soon,
and know that I must document
the mundane done from noon to noon
with a clear precise intent
that taxes, mortgage, these and more
will have no fell surprise in store.

Four minutes of hard truth. Don't want to do THAT again.

Music from the Fab Four, with Let It Be.

Sylvia is delighted to embrace ice cream, especially McDonald's vanilla.