Thursday, May 7, 2009

WHAT KIND OF LOVE?

Pardon me, Rodney Crowell, for stealing your song title and some of your lyrics, but I can't get your song out of my head. The song is "What Kind of Love?" and part of the chorus says:

"What kind of love makes you go out in the wind and the driving rain?
What kind of love runs through your heart with a pleasure so close to pain?
What kind of love?
Only this love that I have"

A cancer diagnosis brings out a lot of "stuff." I've had a question kicking around in my head since Day 1 and I have to get it out. Here it is: Is the love I have for Ray enough to "go out in the wind and the driving rain? "

We will be married 37 years in August. We've known each other for almost 41 years. That's a long time. Married love tends to deteriorate. Maybe that's not the right word. I don't mean it goes bad, more like it gets mundane. After all those years, you kiss him as he runs out the door in the morning, you touch base by phone sometime during the day to remind him to bring home the groceries you forgot and you peck him on the cheek at night. In between there is dinner, some conversation if you're lucky and maybe some lovin' if Jupiter aligns with Mars. :) It's just not like it was in the beginning. Does it need to be? Doesn't your love need to mature, as both of you are doing? (Read that "getting old :)

Well, if this cancer thing hadn't hit us, we might have continued down that road. Comfy, like an old pair of shoes. But God chose this time in our lives to hit us with a cattle prod. Ray needs a lot of support right now. Reassurance, gentle treatment, support and, yes, love. But how much love? Does he need the same kind of love I showed him when we first met? Probably not. That was pretty much infatuation. . . with a little lust thrown in. What about when we got married four years later? Is that the kind of love he needs? I don't think so. There was still a bit of infatuation in that love, but that love was young, not tried or tested in the fire. Good love, but inexperienced. What about the love when the kids finally came? That was a love born out of work, mutual pitching-in, "Let's roll up our elbows and dig in, hon." It was good love, but it was exhausting love. Two "older" folks trying to deal with three little kids. Most nights, we didn't even get to the peck on the cheek. We were simply too tired.

So here we are, 37 years down the road and he needs a special kind of love to get him through this. Am I up to the task? Do I even know how to define this kind of love? Am I capable of loving somebody like Ray needs to be loved now? Part of me thinks I am. But in that hour just before dawn, when I'm usually laying there awake and time passes oh, so slowly, I wonder. I've been sick a lot of years. I have mobility problems. I have chronic pain disorders. My energy is spent most days just in getting through one more day. The kids are teenagers. They need me. My mother needs me. He needs me. And now. . . he needs me a lot. Is there anything left? The thought that the answer might be no haunts me. The Bible says that a man is to be the woman's covering. Sometimes, though, you have to switch roles, if even for a little while. Is there enough left of me to cover him with the love he needs right now?

The answer has to lie with trusting God. The only way I can do this is by putting Philippians 4:13 into effect. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (NKJV) I can't do it by myself. I honestly don't think there's enough of me left. But I do know who has what's needed here and that's God. I wear a silver cross around my neck that says, "With God, All Things Are Possible." I have to remember that. I am inadequate, but God is totally adequate, more than adequate. He can love Ray the way he needs to be loved and do it through me.

Ray needs a lot right now. God is certainly up to the task, even for "a love that goes out in the wind and the driving rain." Thank you, Lord, for being my umbrella.

5 comments:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful Carla!

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  2. Only with God are you able to do what you need to do for your husband and family. This is God's love the best kind of love. I have been praying for you and your family.

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  3. Great post, Carla - really thought provoking and true and we work on almost 28 years - and recently been through a "testing" period of our own to really shake us up. Love is never the same after that - and in some ways I say, "Thank goodness for the shaking up".

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  4. Hi Carla, what a heart felt post. As one who has lived as a teenager through a parent with cancer let me tell you some things.

    The thing that meant the most to me was my parents' honesty. My mother had breast cancer. She battled it, on and off, for 12 years. Dad always told us what the latest stage was and what they were going to do. What I remember most about it, apart from the strain and pain (which cannot be avoided as in not necessarily bad) is my parents' devotion to each other. The honesty meant that my fear was less.

    Sometimes things have to be compromised when the parent is sick but, I know I now would always prefer my family to the compromise. I know I didn't handle it all with the maturity I needed at the time but I look back with gratefulness now. I also learnt to cook lol.

    My parents' love was shown through the patience given, their conversations taken, the time they spent with each other. They prayed together, shared their fears and cried together. Dad changed medicine doses, hand fed her when needed and hired a cleaner. He made sure he got enough sleep, had friends watch her when he needed time out for sanity.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you need time for yourself for your own physical health, don't be afraid to take it. Others can cook meals, others can pick up your kids and take them places.

    One of the greatest gifts you can give to your kids is the ability to ask for help. You don't need to be 'all providing', 'all able'. Spend the day with your hubby and have that sleep in you need. Your kids won't resent you if you talk to them.

    Your hubby will love you for the small things you do day to day. You don't need to 'do' you just need to 'be'. At the end of the day our most precious memories and the things we remember are the moments.

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  5. May God's love always flow through you and may He give you the strength you need each day! Carla, you're demonstrating God's kind of love (1 Corinthians 13).

    Your husband, you, and your family have been in our prayers. I'm so glad to hear that his cancer is contained and that he'll be cured after the surgery.

    ~Urailak ("Fruit Bearer" on FB)
    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/servingtheKingofkings/

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