How kind you are to care for me, of all people. I told Betsy today that I think people love me because they don’t know how much of an ass I can be. She agreed. Hmm.
Nonetheless, in the midst of my suffering, I have been shockingly supported and loved. In over 30 years of pastoral ministry, I have seen many people rally around those in need. But I am sure I win – hands down. It makes me feel quite guilty. Yes, I’m neurotic like that.
I keep trying to tell you folk what a mess I truly am so that you’ll back off and find others more worthy, but you just keep move closer with homemade grape jelly, amazingly strengthening words, and great love. I’d tell you you to stop it, but I think you would continue to trample me anyway.
It’s as if God is saying, “There are still hard, unloved places in your heart, Ed. I’m not going to bring you home until every inch of you can experience and feel my love. Right now, through unyielding and fierce people I send to you; soon, directly from Me.”
Isn’t that an amazing verse? This is what is happening to me. I will forever hold all of you responsible. In fact, I intend to tell God what you have done to me. Unable to receive love for most of my life, you have simply insisted that this problem be dealt with.
Here’s just a small example that just arrived in my inbox from the guy who sent me “Bob.” Sorry for the free publicity, Mark. Bad timing on your part. Deal with it:
Men don’t generally write stuff like this. Or maybe they do. This is from another friend and mentor:
“. . . I can only revert to the old and hackneyed phrase “soldier on.” We have, none of us, a choice, and you seem better able to do the soldiering than most. You continue to inspire and, remember, your demise is simply not even a matter of discussion, at least for a good number of years. It may sound a bit selfish on my part, but I need you, my computer needs you, both of my iPads need you, and my iPhone needs you. So, you simply can’t go anywhere for a good, long time . . . “
Did you read the “I need you” part? I was stunned. This man is a Marine. I didn’t think Marines needed anyone (except their fellow Marines, of which I am sadly not one). Maybe only the good ones do. BTW, his technology is in good hands with MacPro Services, whether I’m around or not. I promise.
If none of this reaches your heart, I’ll give you this from a 15 year old strapping young man. Note: the “I know many things about you” part scares me a little:
Then he pulled out his guitar and he and his sister sang for me. At least I think they did – it was hard to hear over my weeping.
Men being tender to other men when they are hurting and in need? It’s a good gift in a hard world. It is love.
Even Betsy has gotten in on the act. In spite of me doing everything possible under the fricking sun to drive her away from me, she continues to hang in there. Every week from the extended stay hotel where she is living, she visits me to do her laundry and make sure I’m still alive.
What a dear woman – I try to alienate her because the emotional pain of all this is just so horrible to face. And I’m kidding about the hotel. She may leave the room while I am in mid-sentence, but so far she is still in the house.
You single guys take note: I am still alive and breathing. I am also armed. Just back away. Slowly.
Not all has been sunshine and roses, though. The neighbors are complaining. Something about the delivery trucks coming to the house. Really? So what’s the big deal?
The truck driver complained also. Bitterly. We live on a very narrow road in the cul-de-sac at the end. It was amazing to see him get turned around and get out. He said something about loving his family and being determined to see them again.
I think God softened his heart, also. He waved to me as he drove off. At least I think he did.
Okay. I’m tired. Damn radiation fatigue. As I continue to thrive past my expiration date, though, I just wanted to give you all an update on my heart. It continues to receive the healing IV drip of your individual and collective love.
Put another way, you have been the love of God for me with skin on. Did you just hear me say this? Read the sentence again, if necessary. It’s a really big deal what you are doing.
The result? My heart is losing its fears and love for others is flowing much more strongly out of my life – when I can stay awake. Damn radiation fatigue.
Someone has said, “The blessings of God were, and are never about making life easier, but about making it matter.” That’s what you’ve done for me – you’ve made my life matter, even as it has become very hard. That, my friends, is what love does for someone in situations like mine.
If you’ve missed it so far, here it is in a sentence:
I feel deeply loved right now on this beautiful fall sabbath day.
Tomorrow? I’ll probably be an ass again.
But I’ll be a loved ass.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s the whole point.