Tuesday, October 17, 2017

When I Hold His Hand

October 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

“Are you ready?” my Dad whispered.

I nodded, put my trembling arm through his.

The church echoed with the guest’ whispers. A soft melody came from the piano. And my bridegroom, Gene waited for me at the altar. The music changed—my sign to begin my walk down the aisle.

My steps were slow, but my heart beat fast.

Dressed in pure white, I joined my prince. “For better or for worse…”

I repeated those words. And back then, they were just words because my focus was on the thrill of my dream coming true.

But nine years later, my world darkened with the reality of the “worse.

“What I can see is a clear deterioration of the retina,” the ophthalmologist had said. “You both need to prepare.” He paused. “With this retinal disease, no one knows how long you’ll have your sight.”

Gene held me tight as we walked out of the doctor’s office.

“He’s wrong. It won’t happen. I can see just fine,” I reasoned.

Each day became a test of the amount of sight I still had left.  One week I could see the furniture around me, the next I could only perceive portions of some items.

It’s okay, I can still see what’s important—my three little boy’s faces. I tried to comfort my anxiety.

But no reasoning or comforting thoughts changed the reality. We found no treatment, surgery, vitamins, medications to halt its progression.

I tossed at night. Will Gene still love me? If I were to go blind, how would that affect our marriage? Our intimacy?

I try to brush off those tormenting thoughts. But the months that followed ushered what I dreaded.

Out of habit, I felt for the light switch in our bathroom, I flipped it on, but… the darkness remained. I held my breath and my muscles tightened.

Holding onto the cold, slick countertop, I looked toward the mirror and saw a dreary-gray nothing. With shaking hands, I felt the urge to scratch through the glass into the darkness to find a slight glimpse of my reflection. Instead, I found the ugliness of my black world.

Gene stepped in, held my hand and whispered, “It’ll be okay.” He gently brushed some hair strands from my face.

The days that followed, I dragged my steps to accomplish the basic chores for our sons, for him and for myself. But Gene’s constant support and patience brought sparks of light into my darkness.

“I’ll stop by the store and pick up what we need.” He said with a matter-of-fact tone. “And then I’ll get Jason to the Boy Scout meeting.”

He took over many chores, and I took a different place in our marriage. I wasn’t in charge of the schedule anymore, but instead, I was dependant on his availability and time to be the one to take over the driving, paying the bills, help our sons with their homework.

Years swept by turning the pages of our life together. Some were stained with the pain of losing our youngest son, others wrinkled with adjustments to unexpected financial setbacks, and the pages of my blindness were carefully taped together.

But each page tells of a man who  chose to turn the worse for him into the best for me. The  sweet aroma of his cologne surrounds me with delight as he prays for my day before leaving for work.

One day, as was our routine, he was reading one of the dozens of books to me, I asked him, “Don’t you wish I could do for you for a change?”

He kissed my cheek. “You do for me more than I do for you,” he said, “we make a good team just the way we are, and we’ll make it to the end. We have God as our coach.”

In silence, I pondered his last sentence. It reveals an important truth. God is our coach, and in Ephesians 5:24:25, He calls the plays: to submit and to love.

With my eyes fixed on Jesus, I submitted to Gene’s love. And as he followed God’s instructions, he handed me the crown of his devotion.

Now, I look in the direction of the mirror, and smile at my new reflection. In my mind I see the beauty of God’s love. I used to grope my way around but now I take his hand, my steps don’t hesitate anymore,  they’re   secure and confident.

Rather than tears, I celebrate our days as Gene saw beyond the ugliness of my blindness and with his love, he turned me into a queen.

 

Although blind, Janet Perez Eckles has been inspiring thousands with her writing included in 28 books, her passion-filled keynote messages and recently with her #1 bestselling, inspirational book, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta. She resides in Orlando with Gene, her husband of 36 years and invites you to visit her at:  www.janetperezeckles.com

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