Archive | February 2012

A Friend Who sticks closer than a brother…

I have a brother who is lost to me at this moment. Though as far as I know, he is still alive. I cannot call or e-mail him. Every card or letter I send never gets a response in kind. I cannot even confirm he is still at the current address. Given our financial circumstances, I cannot even hire a private eye to find him.  As far as I know, I have never so wounded him as to elicit this sort of cold shoulder. He shuns our entire side of the family. It wounds me deeply, but I keep his photo on my dresser as a reminder to pray.  While there is life, there is hope.

Family and friends, including myself in the equation, are prone to be fickle. So many chronically ill men have trouble maintaining lasting friendships. I am very, very grateful that my husband has a couple long-term friends who regularly call or e-mail him. Since much of the male psyche revolves around their God-given role as provider, it is difficult for him to relate to men even in our church. Conversations among men springboard from work-related topics.  For those who do not know, or just cannot understand my husband’s illnesses, there is a natural stigma involved with his inability to work.  “But you look so good!” This phrase is very, very familiar to those of us with chronic invisible illnesses.  Rest Ministries.org has documented this very well , as well as their sister web-site, http://www.invisibleillness.com.

Sigh! It does indeed take a very patient, caring male to befriend someone who is chronically ill. We wives have enough trouble with our patience levels, and we understand what our husbands’ struggles are more than anyone on earth. Thus, the verse in Proverbs speaks poignantly to this issue, “there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ( I need to look up the reference for you next time…). When my husband mourns the loss of social contact and the awkwardness in relating to other “normal” men, here is where I can encourage him with profound hope.  So many promises speak to the poor, needy, and seemingly forsaken.  “I will never leave you , nor forsake you.” I will hopefully send some more promises your way soon.  A blessed evening to you…

Take time for beauty…

A Beautiful day in Appalachia

While cleaning on my job this morning I was randomly listening to a tv show called something like Doctors. As he spoke to the audience about how we are so stressed we don’t even take time to breathe, I noticed the glorious blue sky filtered by the bare winter woods. He instructed the audience to stop right there and take three deep breaths. I did, while gazing at the beautiful wooded back yard where I worked today. Breathing deeply did feel good, but will certainly not take care of the real stresses in life.

God instructs us to “Be still and I know that I am God.” Some days this is so very hard to do. Most of my “be still time” is while I am driving, and must also pay attention to traffic.  But when I do give the Lord a concerted effort to listen quietly to His Word, I find His beauty thrills my soul.

Return, O Lord! How long?

And have compassion on Your servants.

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,

That we may be glad and rejoice all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which you have afflicted us,

The years in which we have seen evil.

Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children.

And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us,

And establish the work of our hands for us;

Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:13-17