1halffull's Blog

The Love is in the Letting Go
August 31, 2010, 1:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yesterday, two men died.  One man, in his late 70’s, the other just 51.

Both men lived an odyssey of health challenges over this last year.  Each meant to get well.  Neither did.

The men were married to women who loved them dearly.  Each had children – the older had six, the younger had one.

The younger had a brain cancer that started a little over a year ago.  He was determined to beat it even though everyone knew he probably wouldn’t.  He had surgery, then chemo treatments.  His wife, his son needed him to win this battle.  They fought long and hard.  They weren’t able to think about a permanent separation and all that would mean to the wife and son left behind.  The fight was brave, valiant but not without its difficulties and price.  But there was no giving up….not yet.

The older had problems brought on by age.  First one hospital visit then another.  The mind began to travel bit by bit.  Then more hospital visits and less ability to be who he’d been, changing from someone who did for others to someone who desperately needed others to do for him just to live.  His wife came alongside and gave it her all, encouraging him to try again and again.  Visiting, staying with him to make sure he got what he needed.  The kids were adamant that he live regardless of how he lived.   His wife agreed and fought daily to see any and every small sign of the old and healthy love she’d known for the last 16 years.  There was no giving up….not yet.

As the days worked their way into months, both families watched the men they loved become other than the men they had always known.  Minds fading, physical capacities diminishing until both lie still in their beds, sleeping their way yesterday into the new lives God had prepared for them.  Both women said their goodbyes and let them go.  They were ready.

How many times I’ve seen lives unfold in these rich stories.

When my children were small, I couldn’t imagine them leaving me behind to go off to kindergarten.  I wasn’t ready to let them go into that big world.  Yet, when the time came,  somehow I managed. Yes, I admit it, I cried.  But this was their time.

As they entered high school, I never thought I’d be ready for the day they’d graduate then go to college.  Yet the days came and I was ready to let them go.  It seemed right, a right of passage for both of us.  Off they went.

If you think about us, we’re programmed for change.  We’re born and live as children until one day, the alarm goes off and we strike up a relationship with puberty and hormones and all that will force us into physical adulthood, ready or not.  We conceive, we give birth and then, as women, we hear the ticking of the clock and BOOM!  The next alarm fires and we find ourselves in menopause – ready or not.  We’re rounding corners ever faster now looking older, feeling older.   We’re on the final countdown, as it were, and we’re feeling at this stage, that we’re just not ready.

In all of the above, we find ourselves unready in the beginning, to accept what’s inevitable.  We hang on for dear life  to the one we love; to our own mortality; to life itself somehow thinking, hoping that by becoming the drag on the situation, we can slow it down or maybe even stop it from happening.

We fight hard alongside that husband or parent or aunt to keep them here, to see that they get every treatment possible, to cheerlead them into remission or submission to the doctor just so we can have their presence near us.  We’re willing to watch their every moment, hoping against hope that they’ll make it, they’ll return to who they were.  But something wonderful happens as we watch, something ordained by a God who loves us.

We finally become ready to let them go.

I think we become ready to let them go because along the way, we learn that in the end, loving someone means that we want what’s truly best, or better under the circumstances, for them than what’s easier for us.  As you walk on the path of illness with someone you love, you come to appreciate all they do to try to save themselves just for you.  You are deeply moved by their willingness to endure the worst so maybe you can have their best.  Their love for you, their willingness to sacrifice to the end for you, helps bring you to the place of the depths of a shared love that has grown so deep you would finally do anything to allow them relief from their diminished physical condition.  You become ready to give them your own greatest gift:  the gift of letting them go.

It is through all of this that God most manifests what He has meant for us to know all along:  the depth of His own love for us.  Love so great that He would let His son go for us.  Love so great that we are able to grow to our best selves in loving another until we can just let them go.

God bless the wives and the families of both of these men.  Your love lives on in glory.


Take Responsibility for Yourself, Will You?!
August 12, 2010, 4:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Once and for all, people, whether you’re young or old, married or single, man, woman or kid, it’s time you took some responsibility for yourselves.  I’m really sick and tired of everyone trying to pass the buck on just about every circumstance that comes into your lives. 

Look around people.  Half the stuff that ‘just happens’ to you has been brought on by your own thoughtless actions and decisions.  When you only think things through to the end of your nose, you’re most likely going to find that you end up in a pool of snot. 

You end up in these messes because you haven’t bothered to think things all the way through.  You have to use your common sense. 

Oh, well, now there’s another problem isn’t there?  What is common sense you ask?  Somehow I knew that would be the next question.

Common sense comes to us in one of two ways:  some of us are just born with it.  YEA!  But that doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t get some. 

You can actually develop it and here’s how:  From the beginning of your life, you have experiences.  Some of them provide you with positive outcomes and things that you like, that feel good.  Remember those and what brought them on and what you did to cause a good outcome.  

At the same time, some experiences are not going to turn out as well.  Remember them also and note what went wrong along the way what you did wrong (yes YOU did it!) and file those experience memories away in your big fat head for later. 

When the next potentially life threatening thing stares you in the face, review what precipitated all your good experience outcomes.  Find anything in that catalog that seems like it could be helpful in this situation.  Yank those parts into action.  Now review all those negative experiences and how you got the negative experience.  Whatever you do, DON’T do those now, do the positive things and hopefully you can add this to your positive experience, common sense bank for more future referencing.

Here’s the deal, folks.  If you only think as far as the end of your nose without tapping into your common sense, you’re most likely going to keep ending up in the middle of the railroad tracks with a train coming right at you.  But if you take some time to think far beyond the end of your nose, reviewing past experiences BEFORE you make a decision, you just may find that instead of running you over, the train is going to stop and pick you up and take you someplace really good.

Think, people, think!  Figure out accurately what’s right and what’s wrong with what you’re doing or what’s going on, then measure the circumstance and the decision you need to make accordingly.  Don’t just float along like some stupid rubber ducky down a swollen stream.  If you do, you’re ultimately going to find yourself drowning in a bad situation.  If worse comes to worse, ask someone who seems to actually be staying out of trouble what they think.  They may actually have some helpful thoughts to contribute. 

Take responsibility for yourself!  Stop expecting other people to assume it for you.  People who want to dump what should be their own responsibility onto someone else to clean up are just lazy, thoughtless slugs.   By not taking responsibility for themselves, they provide an opportunity to blame someone, anyone, when the whole situation goes wrong and everything ends up in the toilet.  Life’s consequences are never their fault; they’re always someone, anyone, else’s fault.

Well, I’m really tired of all of that kind of behavior.  As the kids say today ‘I’m over it!’ 

It’s more than time for you to get over it, too!

Why would I not choose freedom?
August 10, 2010, 3:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m reading a very good book entitled Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  It’s based on the story in the Bible of Mary and Martha. 

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a synopsis:  Mary and Martha are sisters who know Jesus.  To them, He’s very important.  One day, he and his band of disciples (and probably a number of other assorted followers) dropped by Mary and Martha’s house for a visit – unannounced.  

Caught unaware, Martha immediately springs into action!  They’ll need food!  They’ll need drinks!  Hurry – bring in more tables, clean the rugs where people will be seated, send servants to the market to pick up fresh vegetables!  You can imagine her jumping into action.  You might react the same way.

Suddenly, in the middle of all these preparations, Martha realizes that her sister, Mary, is nowhere to be found!  She goes looking for her and where do you suppose she finds her?  Making beds?  Cleaning up the dining room?  Washing the men’s feet?  NO!  Mary is sitting – sitting mind you! – at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him talk!  Martha’s pretty ticked off.  Here she is running around like a chicken with her head cut off to make sure everyone is taken care of while Mary just sits there enjoying the company, listening to Jesus!  Well, I never!

So Martha spouts off to Jesus about her sister, saying something like – “Hey Jesus, here I am doing all this work while Mary just sits there.  Tell her she needs to help me!”  I guess she thought Jesus would be just as incensed as was she and would get right on that.

But He didn’t. 

Much to Martha’s amazement, Jesus told her that it was actually Mary who was doing the better thing. 

Martha must have been stunned!  I know I would have been.  I probably would have said “So, you’re telling me that it’s better for her, and maybe me, to just sit here and listen and let you all go hungry and thirsty?  I should ignore the fact we have nothing in the house and the rugs are dirty and just sit down and listen to you?  If I don’t do this work, who do you think will feed all of us?”

That last question is pretty funny, really, when you remember that Jesus had his disciples feed 5,000 people from just five loaves of bread and two fishes and took up 12 baskets of leftovers when everyone was done.

If Martha had sat down at Jesus feet with her sister, somehow, the things that really mattered would still have been accomplished. 

There is a very profound line in this book that says ‘Jesus knew He only had to do His Father’s business’.  That’s all He had to do.

WOW, again!  He only had to do whatever it was His Father, God, gave Him to do!  So if that’s what Jesus had to do, what about Martha?  Or Mary?  Or me?  What do I have to do?

That line has stuck with me.  I’ve begun to think about ‘what is it that I really have to do’ in light of who Jesus and His Father, God are to me?

There is a current song that says ‘it is for freedom, He set us free.’  When I think of that, I let out a deep, cleansing breath.  How freeing to know that I’m free to stop worrying.  I have nothing to fear.  I can seek after what God wants me to do today without putting on a mantel of power.  I can just be in Him instead of fighting to be some me I don’t even want to be.  Freedom.

It seems to me that this is where the freedom in living comes when you become a Christ follower.  You can lay down everything else and just do what your Heavenly Father gives you to do.  You no longer have to fret or fear; you can just trust.  You no longer have to grab for power, take matters into your own hands to ‘fix’ everything, every one; you can let people walk the path that has been laid out for them without interfering.  You can relax and just listen to what Jesus has to say and focus on what exactly God has for you to do. 

Why would I not choose freedom?