What’s your Diagnosis?

By Wendy L. Macdonald

I’m about to share something from my life that’s still raw and hurting. While composing this, I wasn’t sure if I’d end up posting it publicly, but I process things by writing about them in my journal. And I did write about this; however, it’s easier to type when I need more than a couple of pages to ponder a predicament because it hurts my wrist to hold a pen for too long. And I’m afraid that what I’ve recently learned has drawn me into a grief that will also be too long. – a long goodbye. My heart’s been scraped in a place that’s still tender underneath some scar tissue.

I can’t share many details; I can’t disclose “who,” but I can say what: a diagnosis.

A diagnosis is pending for a person I care about. I’d noticed a slipping away of his ability to remember things. And I experienced a stab of panic when an incident happened in my presence. But I brushed it off as fast as it landed on my bruised heart, and I assumed it was normal memory loss rather than to risk thinking otherwise. I had no desire to stir up a nest I suspected I wouldn’t be welcomed into, for I’ve never been warmly welcomed under those wings.

Years passed by, and I became busy and distant as I realized some things from my past required me to guard my scarred heart. I couldn’t complete my recovery and a much-needed healing while allowing the same old swords to puncture the same old sores.

When I began to inch closer again, I found more memories had flown far from this man’s mind. He was forgetting himself out of my existence and out of his own.

His world was shrinking.

And I still stood where I always have—on the outside. But now there’s an additional layer to why I’ll continue to be held at a chilly arm’s-length.

I pressed his phone number as I pressed my lips together. During the ringing, I inhaled deeply and prayed silently. He answered, and we talked for fifteen minutes. And then I ended the conversation by saying, “Goodbye, I love you.”

I don’t love how I was treated over the years. I don’t love the damage I’ve had to work through. But I love because I’m loved by our mutual Creator. And I love God too. His love grants me the grace to give generously where I haven’t received—much.

After the phone call, I opened my laptop and did some research. The two problems he discussed, which were above and beyond what I already saw, jumped off a list of symptoms and waved, signaling their warning of what was to come. My heart sank deeper into grief as I realized I didn’t need to hear what the doctor would diagnose; it was as bright as the beacon over the rocks his boat crashed against.

He was sinking. Slow but sure.

Tears spilled down my face like the water seeping through his boat’s splintering bottom.

I thought of the prayers I’ve prayed for 30 years-worth-of-days.

I thought of an unchanging God in a world that refuses to stand still. Where brain cells die, and wounds bleed, and relationships tear apart so that lives need Him to mend them back together as if He’s knitting us all over again in the womb.

He knew me back then, He knew him back then.

God sees us now. And I have to remember—even if my loved one can’t—God cares for us. For him. For me. Now and always.

So I’ll make plans to visit my fading loved one while God continues to make plans to prosper His children. Me, and him—I hope.

For I believe the words of Psalm 145:8 (NIV) which say:

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

There may not have been a richness of love and compassion shown to me through or by this man; however, God has a storehouse of it that can fall like snow over the two of us. Over a planet full of brokenness.

For I also believe the words of Psalm 147:3 (NIV):

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I don’t need to hide like an injured dog in the solitude of my cave. God’s inviting me to trust in His ability to help, heal, and hold me through this long goodbye to someone whom I’ve finally accepted as-is. Grace covers me. Covers us. And love is mine to give because God has caused it to fall from heaven, heavy and white, to blanket the scars, to blanket the wounds still raw, and I can trust Him to create beauty out of the mess of flesh that’s broken in me, and breaking in him.

Real love doesn’t measure. It flows generously. Real love doesn’t ask in return. It empties itself, while empty of expectations because it knows its needs are met from heaven’s storehouse. I don’t need to hoard it for today. For hoarded love will melt like snow and rot like manna. Each day He gives so I can get and give away. Love isn’t coins to collect; love is part of a cycle to give. Hoarded water goes stagnant. But if we pour it out, the sky breathes it in and sprinkles it down again. Love is meant to be in cycle. In sync with the Spirit. For God is love, and He is the Author of it. Real love is alive and cannot thrive in a jar.

So I choose to live with the door of my heart ajar—open and part of His cycle of love. I choose to live with a diagnosis of love. Love from and of God.

What’s your diagnosis?

I’d like to close with 1 John 4:7 (NIV), which says:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

 Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.


Author’s Bio:

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Wendy L. Macdonald is a Canadian, inspirational writer/blogger/podcaster who also loves to photograph nature. When she’s not writing, drawing, gardening, or sewing, she enjoys hiking, with her husband, in the beautiful parks of the Comox Valley. She homeschooled her children and believes all those years of reading wonderful classics aloud helped develop her love of storytelling and writing. Wendy invites you to visit her blog: www.wendylmacdonald.com , where you will find nature photography and links to her “Daily Bread” style Facebook page and other social media sites. Her passion is inspiring others to walk with faith, hope, and love. You can hear her podcasts at: www.hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope .

Wendy’s other links: 


Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

19 comments

  1. Wendy, I was totally moved by your post. I have a similar testimony! The wounds that he(my stepfather) left behind were in my mind unforgivable. Until one day my pastor gave a sermon about forgiveness and how it has the ability to heal. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was able to tell him that I forgave him. Only after I forgave him did I truly start to heal. I’m still healing but the wounds are not as deep. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Lydia, thank you for sharing part of your testimony with me. Our stories can help heal the hurts in each other; stories, like your experience of peace following forgiveness, encourage people who are still navigating their way through pain to keep choosing the right turn lane–right into forgiveness. Blessings, dear friend, for reminding me (and others) it’s a good choice. It’s the only healthy one too.

  2. Wendy, my friend: It’s a tough thing you’ve been through, and a tough thing he’s going through. In spite of your earlier suffering, God has given you a spirit of courage, generosity and forgiveness. This is a beautiful post because of it.

  3. Dear Wendy,
    Thank you for sharing these deeply personal words. I’m sorry you have been hurt by this person, but I’m glad you’re choosing love to cope with this pain. This is proof that the Holy Spirit is working in you and through you.
    God bless you, my friend.

    • Thank you, Bill. I think of you as a brother as much as a fellow blogger because you always help me and other readers tap into God’s hope. He forgives so we can live a forgiving lifestyle.
      Blessings to you and Mary, dear friend.

  4. Wendy, your writing is so elegant and captivating. If mercy, grace, and forgiveness are not granted, bitterness can rob us of our joy. A verse you referred to has carried me for many years. I hold this one close as you do. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
    After reading your post. It spoke me to knock more of the rough edges off I needed to shed. Thank you, John.

    • John, thank you for your encouraging words. I’m especially blessed to hear I’ve been used as a vessel for spreading peace. Each removal of a “rough edge” smooths the way for His abundance to fill us with more of Him. He’s the “peace beyond understanding.” God doesn’t necessarily ask us to move next to a harmful person; but He wants to move us deeper into His grace.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Wendy. We all have people in our lives who cause us pain and are difficult to love. We cannot change them, but we can allow God to change us. I too, “Choose to live with the door of my heart ajar—open and part of His cycle of love. I choose to live with a diagnosis of love. Love from and of God.”

    • Thank you, dear Ruth, for quoting those words God placed on my heart. Those are the same sentences a friend of mine, who is also on a recovery journey, noted. I’m at the place where I’m able to thank God for allowing the scraping and bruising to “change” me. He can use anything and everything for good.
      Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Thank you, Mike. It’s a healthy sign you’re able to mention a devastating diagnosis and despair. It tells me you waded through those waters and were strengthened rather than diminished by them. I’m realizing more and more that wellness depends on us drinking deeply from the well of Love. I need my daily quiet time or my scars break open.
      Blessings ~ Wendy

  6. Wendy, I’ll echo much of what Michelle has said. Healing always implies a hurt or wound. While we heal, there will still be pain, and years after the fact, those scars are a reminder of the original, and under them, the emotions and memories can still be raw.

    I hope that you find some resolution in this experience. Some situations are simply about acceptance, and a profound understanding that we are not in control. We can’t dictate circumstances; all we can do is manage our reactions to the circumstances. Prayers.

    • Thank you, Marilyn. Healing, like recovery, is a journey I’m content to walk with the One who knows and fills our hearts with the unconditional love that only He can. Pain can be a path to Him because only perfect love can turn it into beauty; on my own I’d remain an ash heap.
      Blessings ~ Wendy

  7. Wendy,
    This is a powerful testimony. You are a witness who will one day testify of the grace that flows down in unexpected ways, turning heartache into healing and scars into stories. You have beautifully painted a picture of love which forgives and pieces wounds and grief together to create a whole heart. Praying that the fading of your loved one brings with it a new place of connection that has never been before, but will carry you in the future. Restoration. Redemption. Powerful words that happen in moments like these. 🙂

    • Thank you, Michelle. I love your wording: testify of the grace that flows down in unexpected ways. Yes, I’ve witnessed it and will write about it one day. There’s nothing more precious than the peace that follows the giving of grace. To love the one who hurt you is to truly love God. It’s a rewarding and healing experience.
      Blessings ~ Wendy

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