Legacy of Faith: “Holding His Hand Each Day”

Image may contain: one or more people, drink and indoor

In I Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”   There are many ways in which we can lift each other up.  First and foremost of these is in the act of prayer.  The act of intercessory prayer is a mighty one.  It  taps into the central power of all creation – God – in order to strengthen and provide for the needs of others.

In addition to prayer there are our words of kindness and encouragement.  It is easy to get lost in one’s own struggles and to feel alone – “I am the only one suffering this,” or “nobody cares.”  But a gentle word can prove to be, not just a “reality check,” but a load lifter all on its own.

My wife, Dianne addressed this “ministry of encouragement” in the face of her own illness.  It is part of her legacy of faith, that she set out to lift others while she herself was in decline.   Below is a posting where she discussed it.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: ‘When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.’

I make a public posting almost everyday, and document how i am coping and remind readers that God is helping me through.

I do this because i want to connect with others out there, perhaps suffering terrible trials, maybe even waiting through terminal cancer as i am, maybe you have relatives out there who have a diagnosis or you just want to understand. Possibly you are prepared to pray for me to make my journey easier.

Whatever the reason, this is possibly my legacy, all i have to leave behind.

I have prayed to be healed and certainly believe God can heal me, but i wont know the truth until my time limit of 6-18m[onths] is over.

Most of the time i try not to think about it, but it an ever present ‘spectre at the feast’ and colours every decision to some extent.
In my case i will potentially be mostly well, until suddenly i am not, and then it would be a quick decline.
I do have other co morbid issues though which make me generally ill and confine my to the house largely, often to bed for long periods. These are the issues my post largely comments on and also logs my positive attitude, which i work hard to maintain.

There are issues i havent touched on yet, the stress of not knowing, will i see another birthday… The loneliness of being home all the time but too ill to really see anyone. The pressure to leave something positive behind, to not be an extra burden to loved ones, to be upbeat and cheerful, to ensure nothing is left undone, and just waiting to see …knowing everytime i am in pain or have a new symptom my husband worries and quietly panics inside.

It is a fulltime job, this being brave: as my mum described it today. But -it is what it is, and i am doing all i can, -all i believe God is guiding me to do.

Cancer… Is a terrible word, it has terrible connitations. i pray daily for those who have relatives who are suffering this cruel monster, who struggle to hold their life together whilst quietly being terrified and out of control.

But, God is there for all of us, he walks us into the storm, holds our hands through it and brings us out the other side changed, improved, sanctified.
Never forget to check if you are holding His hand each day (Dianne’s posting for 24 September 2018).

She was indeed “mostly well, until suddenly [she] am not, and then it would be a quick decline.”  Her decline was a matter of four days, but her bravery, concern for others, and this wonderful reminder to hold God’s hand daily inspire me to carry on.

 

Padre

What Smiles Hide

imageedit_1_9456171233 (1).png

A Smile Even in Illness

What Smiles Hide

 

“The cancer has grown,” the oncologist said,

“In eight months, or so, you may be dead,”

“You’ll be good till you’re not, this you should know,”

“Then you’ll swiftly decline, before you go.”

 

It’s a terminal sentence, but not plain to see,

As the tumor inside you expands by degree,

Tired but still active, trying to “live” while you can,

But the fatigue that is felt, eludes casual scans.

 

 

“But you look so well,” I heard him say,

The funeral director who came to visit today,

Yet we need – here and now, this funeral plan,

To speedily arrange it while we can.

 

Our smiles hide illness, our smiles hide fear,

We quickly don them, when others are near,

They are oft perceived to mean that we have no pain,

But the meanings behind them, are seldom that plain.

 

 

The poem was written a few months ago in response to an oncology consultation late last year, and a meeting with the funeral director for advance planning at the beginning of this summer.   My wife throughout all of this kept positive, and tried to be a role model for others.   Many remarked on her positive outlook.   But even when positive, it did not diminish the physical pain and the symptoms of a organ deterioration.   Let’s all try to remember that not every disease is visible, and that some who suffer silently do so with smiles.

The quotes in the poem are paraphrases or actual comments given by the oncologist and the funeral director.

Padre

Dedicated to my wife Dianne 1965-2019

Never Truly Apart

Nails, Hands Together, Holding Hands, Mother Daughter

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay 

Never Truly Apart

As I watch you dying, I hold fast to

The life we still now share together

As a loving husband and wife.

You are so much frailer now

Than on the day we wed,

Yet you are just as

Sweet and lovely.

We hold hands

Happy

Still.

 

The sentiments were already running through my head, and the prompt from  Colleen M. Chesebro helped give me a structure.  I have therefore put the thoughts into a reverse etheree form.

Padre

As Twilight Comes

imageedit_1_9047405622 (2)

As Twilight Comes

 

I have loved you since I met you,

You found be broken – lonely,

You’ve pieced me back together,

I became your “one and only.”

 

Now our time together,

Gets shorter every day,

If only just by holding you,

I could make you stay.

 

Each day I see you weaker,

I just want to make you strong,

Our twilight is getting closer,

I wish it was twice as long.

 

I will always love you,

In this there is no doubt,

I so fear what my life will be,

In a world with you without.

 

I love you.

 


 

Written for my wife, as we face terminal cancer together.

Padre