Just recently I decided to join all my existing blogs into one hybrid. As I was sitting in front of the computer I noticed the title "discontinued" I typed it earlier that day and was just too tired to muster up any creativity to provide a decent title, therefor the word "discontinued" came to mind. Later this morning I sat in front of the computer thinking of that very word. It struck a chord, it spoke to me! I wasn't sure exactly what, but it did. As I began to write this post it became clear as to why. When my stroke had initially occurred my wife and I felt truly numb from all the pain and shock. We were desperately seeking for friends to comfort us and let us know that things would be alright. Much to my surprise, people became distant and the harder we cried out for comfort the quicker people turned away. Kindness is a true gift and it is something that is longed for when it is seldom seen. I remember a story from a movie, one that reaches into the depths of my heart and it correlates to this very situation. The Man In The Iron Mask was a unique story in many ways, the premise is laid out as this "The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king" The king feared being replaced by his twin only because he was such a cruel king.
When I survived my stroke I felt I was imprisoned by a mask, a mask for which I did not desire or wish to carry by any means. I felt imprisoned by this unflattering beast that held my face under lock and key. No matter what I did or how I begged for mercy from friends and church people I was left in a prison of misunderstanding and shame. No one had the key but the king and I was alive and in need of compassion. I was a prisoner of circumstance not of choice! So here I am under a mask of pain, trying to let others who are imprisoned know that they can have hope and know they are only as free as what their minds will allow. No king or countrymen can captivate the mind with bars or metal masks of injustice. I am here and I accept who I am and what I am and Gods love goes beyond the metal masks and the bars of life. I am free because I choose hope and the grace of God will carry me onward! People hide in bubbles, whether it be in religion, class, social acceptance, peer pressure etc. Pain has a funny way of stripping all that away and for that I am thankful. I am seeing for the first time what true friendship is about and what real love does.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.