Sometimes Friday comes around, and when Matthew gets home from work, we shake hands and introduce ourselves. Does this ever happen to any other married couples? It only takes a few days of work and collapsing into bed each night before the distance between our hearts starts to grow. When we were dating, we could talk for hours on the phone. Back then, we had to wait until 7 o’clock in the evening, when the “long distance” between Coatesville and Philadelphia was less expensive. Yup. When the time on the phone with him got excessive, my dad would highlight my conversations on our phone bill and I’d have to pay him back. It was always worth it. And it’s still worth the lack of sleep, to sit on the front porch to refill our emotional cups and reconnect again. To get past the handshake stage and dig deeper. If we only ever give each other the dregs of our day, this will eventually make us forget what it’s like to really know the other person. Dregs are not as delicious or fulfilling as the freshly made batch of coffee or tea, or some freshly squeezed orange juice. Allow your spouse more than just your dregs.
It’s been a tough couple of months for us. I’ve actually been avoiding this blog. Because I WANT everything to be okay. I hate fake, so as to avoid writing truth, I don’t write anything at all. But it’s been 11 doctor visits in 4 months and I completely broke down yesterday. After our initial positive visit with Matthew’s specialist, things went slowly downhill. He started to lose his voice and has had some sinus infections which have been incredibly persistent in nature. Long story short, we are almost at a turning point. Yesterday he had a biopsy taken of his sinus tissue to see if it is indeed Wegener’s flaring up again (bloodwork was iffy and inconclusive) or just a really bad infection. Given the permanently scarred and damaged sinus cavity he has, from twelve years of surgeries and disease-damaged tissue, we know things will never be “normal” again. It makes figuring out if a “stuffy nose” is something which warrants buying a box of tissues, or getting a round of blood work done. I should call it LWW. Life with Wegeners. Remission is so fun, because this stupid disease is not the first thing people chatter to us about when they see us. It’s awesome to feel “normal” and not like you’re wearing a t-shirt that says, “ask me how I’m feeling.” Don’t get me wrong, we totally appreciate people’s concern for us, and how Matthew’s feeling. But it’s so exhausting to be sick. It’s lonely too, because you want to act like nothing is wrong, all while fighting something that is very wrong. So I’ve somewhat angrily been avoiding this topic, because I’m so over it. Wegeners took a back seat for two beautiful years. It is never welcome, in my book. Which is exactly why I’m not the one writing the story.
Someone close to us recently asked me how I was doing with Matthew being sick. It kind of threw me for a bit, because I realized I’m not really okay. I want to kick and scream and order a large pizza. I’m jealous of people who can eat whatever they want and get a stinkin’ cold without worrying about it turning south. I’m jealous of people who don’t have doctor visits flooding their calendar and drying up their bank accounts. Then all of a sudden, I realize where I’ve gone wrong. My eyes have completely turned from Jesus to the waves. Like Peter, I’m sinking. It’s not the first time. These churning waves and I have met before. They’re scary and ugly and as my focus turns to their depths, my faith gets lost in their darkness.
So our late night porch talk covered a lot of this, and Jesus has reminded me again of His faithfulness. He hasn’t moved. It’s okay to be weak, because then He is strong. And believe me, we’re not weak in the sense of giving up. That phrase doesn’t belong in our vocabulary: Give up. We’re weak in our OWN strength to get through what this storm-filled life throws our way. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus.
When you pray for us, pray for our faith to be strengthened. For Jesus to be glorified. For us to be bold. No fishy handshakes or wimpy hugs and sighs. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind! Look us in the eye and remind us not to give up. To rest, not quit. You can ask God for healing if you want, but more importantly, please pray for our eyes to stay focused on Jesus, and our marriage to grow even deeper in love and grace. We already know a day is coming very soon where we will be completely healed.
Now I need to go and enjoy a fresh cup of tea with my love. It’s Saturday, and we have two full days together, and I still haven’t run out of things to talk about with him. And there’s no long distance bill to worry about anymore.