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What Do I Lean On?

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Last week was difficult. Two very hard things happened to me.

The first was I had to make the wrenching decision to put my sweet little Maltese dog to sleep. Putting the family dog to sleep is rough no matter what, but this dog came to me at a very stressful time in my life. I got him a week after I got a restraining order and kicked my abusive husband out of my house. At that time, my kids were reeling from the shock of their parents suddenly separating. They were angry with me. I was frightened my ex might appear at any moment and do me physical harm. My pastors were telling me I was wrong to divorce, and I should take my husband back. I wasn’t sure what I was going to live on. In short, my life was a @#$*%ing mess.

I took a walk with a long-time friend and neighbor, and told her I was thinking about getting a dog. I said, “I would like a small dog, one that won’t shed, that will remain cute its entire life. I think this might help me and my kids get through this really rough time.” Just then, another friend and neighbor pulled up next to us with the cutest Maltese puppy you’ve ever seen on her lap and said, “Anyone want a dog?” I looked to heaven and said, “Wow God, that was fast!” He was already named Teddy, as in Teddy Bear. Very appropriate.

Teddy became my close companion. He followed me from room to room. He slept next to my bed, greeted me at the door, stood next to me as I cooked, and generally loved me to pieces. Yes, he loved my kids too. But they soon left the house and went off to college. I remarried, and brought several new children into my house. Teddy remained mine.

In January, he woke up with a torn heart valve, specifically mitral valve prolapse. I thought he would die that day. With LOTS of medication, he held on for 8 months. When he wasted away, and became very sad, I finally decided to put him to sleep. Oh what a bad day. My sweet second husband came with me, held me and cried with me. I was so thankful for him.

When we returned home, there was no sweet doggie waiting at the door for me. When I went to sleep, he wasn’t sleeping next to my bed. When I woke up the next morning, he didn’t run circles around my feet. There is an emptiness and sad quietness in our home now.

That was Tuesday. On Friday, came the second hard thing. I went to the eye specialist because I have been having trouble with my eyes. When I go from outside into the house, I can barely see. Then I began noticing I see double, when I never used to. Finally, I noticed when I read with my left eye, the line of text doesn’t remain in a straight line, but rather goes up then down again, rather like a mountain. This is especially hard for a writer. I was concerned, but thought the worst they might say is I would need cataract surgery. No. Basically, I have macular degeneration in both eyes (causing the trouble with going from light to dark), and there’s nothing they can do about it. The seeing double and bumpy line in my left is being caused by an internal bleed in my eye. While I was reeling from this news, the doctor said, “We need to do a procedure to stop the progression in your left eye today. We don’t know for sure this will work, but we will try it.” The “procedure?” They wanted to give me a SHOT IN MY EYE!

Let me pause here and explain that I am possibly the worst eye patient on the planet. I can not tolerate someone putting drops in my eyes. That little puff of air they give you during a routine eye exam? Yeah, that takes numerous tries. The idea of someone giving me a shot in my eye is absolutely laughable. Yet, that is exactly what they did. The only way I could get through this was to listen to my favorite Christian music. Thankfully, as I had walked out the door that morning to go to the eye doctor, Jesus prompted me to run back for some ear phones at the last minute, something I never usually bring. I won’t bore you with the gory details of the procedure. I was an absolute mess when I left the office. I had to call my daughter and ask her to come drive me home.

Lets just say, last Friday rivaled last Tuesday as one of the worst days I’ve experienced in quite some time. And the best news…I get to repeat this procedure every month or so for the rest of my life…AND, lines of text still go up like a mountain when I read.

So, that was my awful week. I know other bloggers who could get philosophical/spiritual with this and come up with a way of looking at these experiences that would put it all into perspective, and help you and me come out feeling better about it all. I am not one of those. All I can say is sometimes, life just sucks.

I realized, surprisingly, I am not in a deep depression. I think there are two reasons for this:

One is that my relationship with my husband was actually strengthened by going through the death of our dog together. I realized I can count on him, and how much we love each other.

The second is I have been leaning hard on Jesus lately. One of my favorite Christian songs right now is by Nathan Partain, called “The Gospel Is All I Have.” I invite you to check it out on Spotify (for free) or on iTunes.

Here are the lyrics – they pretty much sum up where I am right now:

The gospel is all that I have

The gospel is all I have

No well kept, presentable, life to display

The gospel is all I have

 

The gospel is all I have

The gospel is all I have

No courage, no virtuous, bold use of faith

The gospel is all I have

 

When the Lord God Almighty

Leapt down from the sky

And he made himself nothing

And served ’till he died

So that I just a beggar

At the judgment might cry

The gospel is all I have

 

The gospel is all I have

The gospel is all I have

No merit to offer, no excuses to make

The gospel is all I have

 

When the Lord God Almighty

Leapt down from the sky

And he made himself nothing

And served till he died

So that I just a beggar

At the judgment might cry

The gospel is all I have

The gospel is all I have

 

The gospel is all I have

No clever, persuasive words I could say

No debt I could work off

No bribe I could pay

No goodness

no promise of love that wont fade

The gospel is all I have

The gospel is all I have

 

What do YOU lean on when times are hard?

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