Sunday, March 27, 2022

Keeping His Vows {From the Archives}

There's a different essay I wanted to write for today, but it will have to wait for another time. Instead, in honor of my Amore's birthday, please enjoy this but from the archives. This is from the blog's earliest days, but he's still here and still providing for my needs... new diagnoses, a surgery per year, always reaching our out-of-pocket maximum on health insurance, and all the other joys of chronic illness. Thanks be to God that I can sometimes travel now (or could, before COVID) with a lot of extra planning and baggage, and for the time being I can do the laundry and most errands, and I'm able to resume some of the household chores. Autoimmune disease means we know this isn't likely to last, but I'm grateful for a bit more strength for now. God's grace is sufficient.

Happy birthday, Amore! Many, many happy returns of the day. 🤗

Friday at the doctor, when the appointment was all over but the bloodletting, I stood at the nurse's counter waiting for my prescriptions. I cracked a joke, and she laughed and said it was good to see me smiling. It's comforting to see the same nurse and receptionist at every appointment for nearly a decade. Safe. Known.

"Things are better than they were," I said. "Still not pain-free, but better. We're trying one more medication change. It would be really nice if that took me the rest of the way, but..." I shrugged. "Rest is good, too."

"Plus, God has blessed me with a husband who is committed to taking care of me, even when that means doing the things I can't."

She noticed the smile wobbling, looked into my eyes, and quietly said, "He's keeping his vows, Christina. That's what he's doing; he's keeping his vows."

Yes. Yes, he is. That's the kind of man he is, the kind of family which raised him.

It is humbling to receive such faithful love. I neither take it for granted nor deserve it. That's how grace is.

My closest friend from high school has a different chronic illness from mine. Years before I had even met Allen, I stood beside her at her wedding. The vows I witnessed, the "in sickness and in health," grew burdensome on her husband's shoulders. Now she carries the burden of earning a living in addition to that of her health problems. It is humbling to remember that Allen's faithfulness is a choice, a daily decision, and not always the easy one.

There is humility in the keeping of the vows, as well, in the placing of God's will before self, in the living sacrifice of "as You wish"--as the Lord wishes, first; as the beloved wishes, second. I recognize humility in the way Allen helps with the laundry, the errands, the dishes; the accepting extra weekend duties without complaint; the submission of his vocational dreams to my need for stability and health insurance; the relinquishing of vacations and peregrinations until I can go, too. He hasn't yet been required literally to wash my feet, yet he does so every day through his service to me.

He will shrug off these words, echo the nurse, "Just keeping my vows," but that "just" reminds me of Jesus.

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