“Do you want the light off?” I asked as he settled in to take a nap.
“No,” he answered.
Surprised at his answer, I asked to make sure, “You want me to leave it on?”
“No, I want you to turn it off.”
Ahhh, communication, a pillar of strong relationships.
But then every once in a while, without saying much, he knows exactly what to do.
“While I’m out, do you need me to get anything at the store?” he called to ask.
“Probably. I don’t know. I’m so tired, I can’t even think,” I responded.
“Ohhh, I see what’s happening. I’ll get you some chocolate then.”
Yes! Chocolate! That is the answer! He does pay attention to me!
Communication isn’t always our strong suit even after 16 years of marriage. One reasonable reason for this is that he talks all day long at his job, so when he comes home he doesn’t necessarily want to engage in conversation. Which, to be honest, isn’t bad for me, since I’m not typically on the chatty side anyway—especially if the young one has been on a talking binge for a few days (weeks/months/years) in a row.
As a result, I realized late last year that I didn’t really appreciate him as much as I should. Maybe it’s because we don’t spend much time together because of his work schedule. Maybe there’s lingering hurt I need to work through. I don’t know, but I felt bad about it because he’s put forth real effort into getting better, doing better, treating me better, working to support and take care of us. I should appreciate all of his efforts and him more than I do, but sometimes…
So I prayed about it.
He finally made an appointment to go see the doctor after months of me casually suggesting that he should. She was concerned and sent him to see a cardiologist. They did a stress test. The cardiologist was concerned by the results and he was given an appointment to have a heart catheterization.
“Your husband has significant disease. One artery is 100 percent blocked. Another is 85 percent and a third is 75 percent. He’s going to need surgery,” the doctor came out to the waiting room to tell me. I pushed back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes. Thoughts and worries came rushing in very quickly. His mother just died of heart failure.
While he was in recovery, I had to pick up my girls from school and make arrangements for someone to watch them while I went back to the hospital. On my way home, wondering how he was even still alive, I began shaking my head as the words came tumbling out of my mouth,
“I knew You would do this to me. I just knew it. I knew once we got through the bad stuff You would take him away. Why are You doing this? Oh God, what am I going to tell the girls?”
Then I stopped. What I had been taught that weekend came flooding into my head. The thoughts I had been mulling over the last couple of days came to mind. I had never heard of the book “The Shack” before, but we had just been to hear the author speak that weekend. After hearing him talk about his life and why he wrote the book the way he did, I got curious and decided to read it. The one thing that kept echoing in my head from hearing him talk and then reading the book is that God is love and He loves us greatly. Until we believe those things, we will never be able to trust His goodness. If we can’t trust His goodness, we can’t trust Him.
Taking a deep breath, I said, “Ok Lord, I believe you love me and no matter what happens, I will trust Your goodness.” I was still fully expecting bypass surgery was in our very near future.
I got back to the hospital and told my husband what the doctor had told me. Right after that, the doctor came in and said to me, “Well, after looking at the pictures, things are not as bad as I first told you.”
One artery is 100 percent blocked, but the good news is it can’t get any worse than it is and has created its own bypass system. The other two have blockage but not nearly as much as the doctor first saw. Diet, exercise and some medicine should help. If not, we’ll take the next step.
I wanted to both hug and punch that doctor in the face at the same time. He’s a very good doctor and I don’t think he saw wrong. But I also don’t know if it’s common for doctors to see one thing and then have the pictures show another, or if some kind of divine intervention happened.
All I know is that I got to see and feel how deeply I actually still do love and care for this husband of mine. I knew I did, but sometimes it’s good to know know. Especially while he’s still around to appreciate. So, when we’re talking in circles at each other and getting frustrated, my mind goes back to that day. That realization. I do appreciate him and how hard he has worked to still be here with us. It’s no small thing.