Sometimes we say things but we really don’t have any idea what we are actually saying. Because at the time, it’s impossible to know.
Like these words that the bride and groom say to each other on their wedding day: “…in sickness and in health.”
A couple summers ago I was officiating a wedding. I love it when couples go “old school” and choose to say the traditional vows. You know the ones: “… To have and to hold from this day forward. For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer…”
So there I am officiating a wedding and it’s that moment in the ceremony. The groom had already said his vows and now it was the bride’s turn. They are facing each other. She is looking in his eyes and saying her vows line by line. Just as she says the words “…in sickness and in health” I happened to glance over her left shoulder to those witnessing the ceremony. And right in my line of sight was Kellie. And I got choked up.
Here’s a picture of Kellie and me capturing the moments when we said those words to each other. It was 12 years ago today: March 20, 2004.
And when you say those words on your wedding day, you truly don’t realize what you are saying. For me, I pictured the extent of those words meaning running up to CVS at 2am to buy an extra box of Puffs Plus Lotion tissues when my bride had the sniffles. Or maybe heating up chicken soup for her when she was battling a fever.
When a bride and groom say those words to each other on their wedding day, they are filled with hope. Hope that their new spouse really means them. But you never really know. Only time will tell.
And while those vows are very easy to SAY, they are very hard to DO, especially when the “in sickness” portion of them goes far beyond a runny nose or fever.
Well, back in 2009 I realized that Kellie really meant what she said our wedding day. We celebrate our 12th anniversary today, but we almost didn’t get to our 6th. Not because of marital struggles but because she could have been a widow.
Back in October 2009 I had a 103.5 degree fever that wouldn’t break. It turned out my body was attempting to fight a baseball size abscess in my liver, a battle I was losing. I spent
7 days in the hospital the first time around and then 18 days straight a month later. 5 of those days were in intensive care due to severe complications culminating in a surgery on my lung cavity. I had 4 chest tubes as souvenirs of the operation. Here’s my “glamor shot.”
At that time, Kellie and I were parents of two small children. Faith was 2 1/2 years old and Evelyn was just 8 months old. Somehow Kellie juggled being a mom of two small children and managing our household and navigating scores of babysitters coming in and out of our home while being at the hospital for 10 hours a day and acting as my caregiver and unofficial “patient advocate.” The latter being a key reason I was moved from a room on the general floor and into intensive care, which most likely saved my life (and I don’t exaggerate when I say that).
She cared for me. She fought for me. She prayed for me. She cried with me. She served me in ways that went far beyond the call of duty. And she stuck by me every second.
And then once I got released from the hospital she became my in-home nurse on my road to recovery.
12 years ago today Kellie said “in sickness and in health.” And she meant every word.
It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies. Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs. She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives. – Proverbs 31:10-12 (NCV)
***We hope to see you twice this week at The Eastside Vineyard. On Good Friday at 7:00pm and again on Easter Sunday at 10:30am. And may you not just “go to church” but experience the love of God when you come. More info at tevchurch.org***