Thursday, March 6, 2008

She Sees Such Disparity in Relationships Around Her

The point of this post is to ask for your prayers for a couple in surgery today, but it's a long-winded road I travel to get to that point. You see, I've reported on this blog about my fantasy author's insane and remarkable cynicism after living nearly 14 years with someone who didn't give a flip about her. Now that the soon-to-be-ex-husband is attempting to ruin her financially for the rest of her life, she's turning more cynical (if you can imagine). But she can be moved by extreme displays of love and emotion. There are three acute examples she'd like to share here.

First, a friend in Tennessee has, in the past 12 months, been through a heart attack and lung reduction surgery. His bride of 30+ years was at his side through these situations. While Sandy wasn't in Tennessee to witness their testimony of love for one another, she has received his e-mails and carried on conversations with this self-proclaimed redneck mountain man who dotes on his wife and family like you wouldn't believe. While helping compile a Valentine's Day eBook a couple years ago, Sandy had the honor of reading the story of how these two met and nearly walked away from their relationship. It was a moving story that took guts for a mountain man to tell, but gave incredible insight to a love that has lasted through years of marriage, children, grandchildren, moves, stories, housebuilding, vacations, travels, loss of parents, sickness, health, love, feistiness, art, schooling, you-name-it!

Second, a friend in Missouri suffered a severe and surprising stroke at the tender age of 34 a few years ago, rendering her paralyzed from the neck down, unable to lift her toddler into her arms ever again. In this case, Sandy did have the opportunity to visit this friend in the hospital and witnessed, first-hand, a husband's devotion to his wife, seeing the gentleman care for the woman he loved and hearing him describe with almost breathless hope the ways modern medicine could help her communicate with him. What sticks in Sandy's mind to this day is how he described sitting in the hospital bed next to his lovely bride the night before, holding her while they watched a movie together, and saying how incredibly thankful he was that he was still able to share that with her. He was so thankful to still have his wife…so thankful that she'd made it through the stroke to still be with him. (Side note of great news: her physical therapy and recovery regained some movement in one of her hands, and the advances in medicine and technology allow her to use computers in amazing ways for communication, mobility, continued therapy, etc. Every day is a miracle for her and she writes like a fiend! Sandy is addicted to her Stargate fanfic.)

And now, today, one of her friends from "baseball reunions in St. Louis," fun titles like Empress and Contessa, and too-infrequent e-mails updating each other on life and books, goes through the worry of watching a spouse in surgery. Patrick has battled the fallout from cancer treatments for months on end and found himself at a standstill in the recovery, so the neurosurgeons go in to remove a brain tumor today. This friend who has stood by her spouse, cared for him day in and day out, sent out prayer requests and health updates, asked for loving thoughts, and rearranged her life around the man that she loves now sits alone in a hospital waiting room, receiving random updates from an attending nurse throughout the operation. She expects she'll be able to update immediate family members late in the day or tomorrow; the rest of us by the weekend. (Sandy would like everyone reading to pray for Marilyn and Patrick.)

Do you have someone dear to you that you still feel that deep, unending, romantic love for? When that person is sick do you feel empathy and worry? You see, Sandy had lost that in her relationship. When her soon-to-be-ex had excruciating pain from a kidney stone the first time, Sandy was a wreck. It was horrible to see this person she cared about in pain. She was right there worrying and fretting and wanting answers from the doctors at the hospital.

The second time around was different. His years of continued reticence and neglect had beaten most of the emotion out of her. By the time she got to the emergency room to see why he was there, discovered it was just another kidney stone issue, and learned that she'd missed an hour of work for the nonsense, she wanted to use the tools to get the stone herself and get the ordeal over with. Sure, she felt sorry that he was in pain—who wouldn't feel sympathy for a fellow human writhing around like a worm on a hot sidewalk? But the intense love that the examples above express…that kind of love is special. If you've got it, Sandy and I recommend you cling to it.

Consider these two illustrations:
Sandy went to dinner with a friend last Friday evening. At the two tables behind her were two elderly couples. In one corner booth a gentleman sat across from his wife, slouched over his plate, watching the woman talk on her cell phone (loudly). At one point, he took out a bottle of pills from a fanny pack on the seat next to him and swallowed a couple. The lady prattled on… In the other corner booth a gentleman sat beside his wife, both of them munching away at an appetizer, waiting for their dinners to arrive. The man had a glass of red wine. They didn't say much to each other that Sandy's friend could report to her, but they seemed content to sit together.

Now, which couple would you like to be? Because she's so jaded, I know Sandy would say (yep, she just smarted off and walked out of the room…) I know Sandy would prefer to be with a group of girls discussing how to emasculate any man who walked by the table. But, for argument's sake, I'd like to think that she'd be the woman sitting next to the gentleman who cared for her and whom she cared about. Looking at her friends in the examples above, she recognizes true love and emotion in them. And we both encourage you to hang onto it when you recognize it, too. She put it in her fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods (even though the love story isn't the main focus of the plot). And I, for one, am thankful.

The heroine, Amanda Chariss, is a strong, amazing, compassionate young lady, but where would she be without love? Without the love of a sturdy mentor who has trained and supported her as she grew from a child into the lady she is today? Without the love of a god who swoops in to (in my opinion) wreak a little havoc in her life? Without the love of friends and benefactors who hide her from the evil sorcerer who hunts her and wishes her dead? Without the love of a kindly gentleman like myself who wants to fold her up in my embrace and keep her safe for the rest of her life? These forms of love may be played out on the pages of a work of fiction that has its share of violence and mayhem, but they represent the forms of love we can see in the couples Sandy has had the good fortune to know in her life.

Inspiration, she says, is all around, despite the disparity she sees.

If you're interested in learning more about Sandy's first novel in the Choices trilogy, you can read the first three chapters for free, or download the eBook (dirt cheap) at her publisher's Web site at http://www.archebooks.com/BookIDX/Indexes/Fantasy/CMG/CMGDesc.htm. You can also read reviews at http://www.amazon.com/Choices-Meant-Gods-Sandy-Lender/dp/1595071652/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203344454&sr=1-1.

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4 comments:

Nigel said...

I loved it Sandy!! I wondered where you have been. I haven't been blogging like I should working on the illustrations for the children's book has kept me absoluly covered up, the deadline is mid April and it comes out in Aug. It is going to be distributed to all of the elementary schools in N.C. as a resource book.

Haint Lights is in the Hands of the Iowa Book Doctors being critiqued for the last time then after those revisions it goes to the agent. I have too many irons in the fire!! And the light is Back! Loretta and I saw it last Friday night at midnight shining proudly letting us know it has returned! Frnakly it was brighter than usual and kind of scary!! Gonna strap on the O2 and go wash my truck!!

Love Ya,
Pappa Gale

Lyddy said...

Here! here!
I love Addy with all the joy of living/til the lights go down in New York City

Clinging away, as ordered!

Kimberly said...

Don't despair!
Just because *air quotes* some people *more air quotes* *coughlamecough* can't see the wonderfulness that is you, don't give up! There are still a few of us old couples still sharing our appetizers. Sure, we've had our rough patches too, [knock on wood, no surgeries] but we have discovered a key. Communication! Of course, it takes two to do it.
My thoughts and wishes are with you and I am mentally pointing fate in the right direction for her next laugh. Don't worry, she won't see you!

Nigel said...

Kim,
For some reason, as Sandy was reading over my shoulder, tickled by all the private jokes in your message, she got to the word "fate," let out some sort of mangled, strangled gasp, and, when I looked at her, turned this gastly pale white. What's happened? What should I do? She's convulsing in the floor...

I'm very distressed.
Nigel

 
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