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What I Learn from Marty: Marty and God What I Learn from Marty: Marty and God
BY LARRY KINARD
August 2012

Marty and I have a heritage rooted in Christianity. Our faith is our foundation. It is our past and our present. We were both raised in a Christian church, stayed in a Christian church and raised our children in a Christian church. It is part of who we are, how we think and, hopefully, it drives how we act toward others.

Marty was raised in the Baptist tradition, and me, a Presbyterian. My faith in God and what that means has been tested over the years, certainly no more than the past five years when Marty’s strokes changed our lives. The idea that God never gives you more than you can handle has been sorely tested in my eyes. While it may not have been more than I could handle, it’s certainly right to the very edge of my emotional and intellectual capabilities. I have been alternately grateful, angry, thrilled, depressed, faithful and faithless through all of this. To say these past years has been a test of my foundation is a complete understatement.

Amazingly, Marty’s faith, her basic belief system, her foundation has never been shaken and never been stronger. When we talk about religion, our faith and belief in a higher power, she has never wavered. She has never expressed anger or disappointment in her God for what has happened. She has only said, “I believe God carries me and cares for me.” I think if anything her faith in this higher power, her belief in God’s action for humanity is stronger than ever.

Personally, I have a hard time finding God sometimes. I get angry and I lose my faith on a regular basis. Not Marty. I don’t understand why she doesn’t feel anger, why she doesn’t whine about the unfairness of her situation. She simply believes, holds faith and knows God holds her in God’s hands. She has managed to avoid the trap of humanizing her God by blaming God for her strokes. She understands her illness is not of God, by God or for God. It is human illness caused simply and completely by the frailty of humans. Marty knows intuitively not to ascribe human characteristics to God, she believes God is infinite and she knows we have but finite understandings. We can’t excuse our frailties by making God frail.

Her God is not one of hate or retribution; the God of our Christianity is one of benevolence and grace. Marty doesn’t blame God or hate God for allowing the illness. She is grateful for her continued life and the chance to continue her life. She believes God is with her. But there are days I want to blame God, to rail about the inherent unfairness of Marty’s loss. On too many days I have found more hard questions, more friction, in my beliefs and faith. My doubting times are much more frequent and much stronger than ever. I’m not Marty, I don’t have her strength, I don’t have her faith. Marty, like Job, has accepted her life and her fate and said, “I will live as I am, I will live with my faith in a God that is with me and loves me.” She knows that better today than ever. I am constantly amazed at what I learn from Marty.

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I am the chief caregiver for Marty, my wife of 30+ years. In our previous lives Marty was an Educational Psychologist, I was a call center manager for TXU. Marty has had two strokes since 2005 which have caused critical physical and cognitive deficits. We are both in our mid-50's and have two adult children. This is what I have learned over the last years, this is our life.

WHAT I LEARN FROM MARTY ARCHIVES

March/ April 2014: Definitions

January/ February 2014: The Pain of Awareness

December 2013: And God Smiled

November 2013: An Answered Prayer

October 2013: Charge!

September 2013: In Marty's Own Words—Caring for Her Mom

August 2013: Bone Crushing

July 2013: Would You Have a Stroke?

June 2013: Death is No Way to Learn

May 2013: Hummin’ for Jesus

April 2013: Yeah, We're Weird

March 2013: Tomato Juice

February 2013: Is the Turtle Dead?

January 2013: Living with Dying




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