My brain did it again. I was so frustrated.
I had completed 7 months of a grueling treatment for a neurological disorder that had plagued me for several years. It wasn’t debilitating though. I just had these 20-second episodes where I couldn’t read or write, and sometimes it made it hard for me to speak.
After finishing the treatment and making some changes to my medication, the episodes nearly stopped. I would occasionally experience light symptoms, which shouldn’t have mattered. I was doing better than ever. Even so, I cringed when it would happen.
I had tried so hard to beat it and I was almost there. When I would have the episodes, it felt like I had failed. But God used one person, more than any other, to hold me together — it was my wife, Raquel.
She cheered me on, encouraged me with scripture verses, and helped me survive the treatment, which involved an extreme change to my diet.
I know it wore on her, and the only reason I know it is because I asked her about it the other day and she admitted that it had been hard. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t asked. She didn’t make a big deal of it, but in my weakness, she held me up with the strength of Jesus.
At the time Raquel said her wedding vows, she didn’t realize just how much she was signing up for when she promised to stay with me “in sickness and in health.” Regardless, she followed through.
A lot of spouses out there are like Raquel. A husband keeps encouraging his wife who can’t find a job. A wife comforts her husband who’s living under the weight of severe depression. The elderly man or woman goes to the nursing facility every day to sit with a spouse whose mind has been ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease.
To those people out there who are like my wife, who love when the going gets tough and honor their vows when there’s not much in it for them, thank you. You may not have any idea how much it means to your spouse. Regardless, you kept going. You keep giving. You keep loving.
In my case, there was just one thing that drowned out the feelings of failure when I had another episode, and it was Raquel’s love.
One day when we were in the kitchen alone, I turned on the song “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Peter Cincotti, took her in my arms and began dancing with her. The lyrics were just right.
I just know when I’m in your embrace
This world is a happy place
And something happens to me
That’s some kind of wonderful
At one point in the middle of the song, I pulled back and blinked a little bit.
“Are you about to cry?” she asked.
“No, I’m having another episode,” I said.
She wrapped her arms around me, put her head on my chest, and rocked back and forth with me as it passed. She had no idea how much that meant to me. In times like that — and there have been many — her love did more than make the moment bearable. It made it wonderful.