Monday, October 19, 2009

In Sickness and In Health

It's not very fun when my husband gets sick. When he doesn't feel well, he's inevitably crabby and whiny and I can't count on him to help out around the house at all. His sickness may place more demands on my time and energy. I may have to stay home and help out when I would rather have been out doing something else. I may find myself getting really irritated with him when he's sick, but I need to keep one very important thing in mind: sometimes I get sick too, and I'm just as cranky and useless when I do.

Relationships are at their best when both people are contributing and when things are balanced and healthy. With all of the obstacles life throws our way, however, none of us get to live that ideal all of the time. People get struck with sicknesses of both body and soul, and difficult issues crop up that we have to deal with. The people we love may develop special needs that require extra attention and energy from us. Sometimes we have to make allowances for people who are suffering and concentrate more on their needs than on what's fair. When that happens, it's not much fun for anyone.

God doesn't want Christians to be fair-weather friends. He's certainly not. I know that God has put up with a fair amount of trying behavior from me, and after all that He's still here supporting and strengthening me. At difficult times in my life I have screamed at God, cried and cried over a perceived lack of support, and even given God the cold shoulder by wandering off and trying to figure things out on my own. Still, God reached out to me even when I wasn't reaching out to Him. He gave 90% when I was only able to give 10%. But eventually things got better and our relationship stabilized, so it was all worth it as God must have known it would be.

I endeavor to be loyal to my loved ones even when it's hard. I want to be able to say "I love you" even if the other person can't say it back. I'm willing to be awoken at 4 a.m. for a tearful phone call. It's OK if I need to pick up the pile of used tissues or even if I need to help pick up the pieces when things fall apart. I can reach out to people who need me to make a special effort because they're unable to reach out to me, and I can make sacrifices to help people who can't deal with everything on their own. I believe that going 'above and beyond' when a loved one is sick or in trouble is really nothing more than behaving like a true friend. I promised to be faithful to my husband no matter what happens, but I feel that way about a whole host of people that I love. I'm going to be there for them through thick and thin because that's what love demands of me. It's a price I'm more than willing to pay because the resulting relationship is so beautiful and precious to me.

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