Sometimes God sends us people in our darkest moments. Some may say it is coincidence, but I don’t believe that. These moments happen for a reason. These moments can shed light on our greatest fears and give us something we so desperately need: hope.
When I was first fell ill, I was a couple months away from getting married and working at the local Trader Joe’s. I eventually had to leave this job when I could no longer lift boxes due to muscle weakness. This was an overwhelming and confusing. I knew that this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. Instead of feeling normal wedding bliss, I was overcome with guilt.
I felt guilty that my soon to be husband had to deal with my illness. The soul sucking line that played over and over in my head for months was, “He didn’t sign up for this.”
One night I was closing at the store and a older man in his 70’s came in to browse around. He made a beeline for the sample section, where I was handing out samples of Spiced Apple Cider. His energy was warm and kind. He enthusiastically asked if he could go take a sample to his wife who was in the car. After he returned he started telling me about his wife. Here is their story:
She was a karate black belt when he first met her. They instantly fell in love and decided to get married. During their engagement she began to feel sick. She knew something wasn’t right but she hid her worries from her fiance. After extensive testing, she was diagnosed with MS. MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerve.This results in nerve damage disrupting the communication from the brain and the body.
She went over to his house to tell him about her diagnosis and was expecting a broken engagement. As she cried she told him, “I wanted to let you know that I don’t expect you to take this on, and I understand if you don’t want to marry me.” To my surprise, he laughed when he told me this part. The thought of not marrying her seemed absurd to him. He assured her that this made no difference to him and that they would get through this together.
She was waiting in the car that night because she requires a wheelchair now and had been experiencing pain. He continued to talk about his wife for at least 30 minutes(taking small breaks to go take her more samples). He spoke of how much he loves her and how they are best friends. We were well past closing time, and I know my co workers wanted him to leave, but I was enjoying every second of his story. I knew he was not there by mistake. As I looked into that man’s eyes I could see that he didn’t just tolerate his life with his wife. He was consumed with joy that she was his. She isn’t a burden to him, she is a blessing.
On my drive home that night I sobbed in my car. I cried to God and told him thank you. Thank you for sending that sweet man into my store. Thank you for addressing my guilt that I might be ruining Timothy’s life. Thank you for showing me that I am not a burden to love.