His Loving GesturesPosted February 10th, 2011
by Janet Perez Eckles
Will he still love me? Will this change how he sees me? Those thoughts filled my anxious heart when a major challenge confronted our marriage.
The beginning was glorious—my wedding day. The guests waited with anticipation. A buzz filled the large church and mingled with a soft, delicate melody.
“You look stunning,” my maid of honor said.
I turned toward the mirror and smiled. “Thank you.”
Once inside the church, Gene waited for me at the altar. The procession music began: my cue to begin my walk down the aisle.
“Are you ready?” my dad whispered with a hesitant tone.
I nodded and put my trembling arm through his. We proceeded down the aisle with marked steps to the tune of trumpets echoing through the church. My steps were slow, but my heart beat fast. The arrangements of fresh flowers along the sides laced an invisible canopy of sweet fragrances.
Dressed in pure white, I joined my prince. We heard “For better or for worse,” and my heart lit up with dreams of the “better.” But nine years later, my world darkened with the reality of the “worse.”
MONTHS OF ANGUISH
A retinal disease began to close my vision. Months of anguish, and desperate attempts to look for a cure or treatment left us more discouraged and anxious.
A year later, I woke up and opened my eyes, but objects seemed to have disappeared. My tiny amount of vision had closed in completely. I blinked, turned to one side, then the other and saw nothing. No shadows, colors, or shapes—only a dark, gray nothing. Then I glanced toward the mirror in our bedroom, and in my mind, saw only an image of someone who was worthless, unlovable, and ugly.
Tears flowed, and while self-pity invaded me, my three little sons romped into the kitchen. I groped the furniture to guide my path. Faking a smile, I glanced in their direction. But none of them noticed, probably because their mommy had been walking with caution for the last several months.
“I want cereal, Mommy,” my youngest said.
I reached for the cabinet, pulled out a bowl, and then ran my finger tips across the items in the pantry, feeling for the box of cereal. Where was it? I couldn’t see the color of the box that told me it was their cereal.
LOST IN DARKNESS
I was lost in my darkness.
The simplest tasks now seemed impossible. My anxiety deepened when I thought of what my husband’s reaction would be. In addition to doing the driving and attending to his busy schedule, he’d have to take over tasks at home, too? That thought made my stomach cramp.
Would he still love a blind wife?
When he came home, he found me crying. He instinctively knew what had happened.
The adjustment took us through painful emotional hurdles. But I had a choice: to give up or give my life to Jesus. Making the wisest decision of my life, I chose the latter, and I spent long hours with my headphones on, listening to the Bible in audio form.
Courage trickled in and I took steps with more confidence and faith. Gene complied with my request to pray together.
And now, years later, although unable to see my own reflection, I see God’s image in the mirror of our marriage. The faint, but sweet aroma of Gene’s cologne surrounds me with joy as he holds my hand and prays for my day before leaving for work.
On other occasions, as we drive out of our neighborhood, Gene remarks with sweetness in his voice, “My baby sure looks beautiful.” I smile with gratitude as he takes my hand, brings it to his lips, and places a gentle kiss.
In silence, I ponder his unconditional love. It reveals an important truth. God is his coach, and Gene follows his call—to love me as Jesus loved His church (Ephesians 5:25).
Without fail, he cheers each of my personal and professional accomplishments. And the enthusiasm he displays when he accompanies me to appointments, shopping, out to dinner, out with friends and on fun cruises, makes my days rich with his love.
During this time of the year, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, tears will stream down my cheeks as the well of gratitude within me overflows. With each of his loving gestures, Gene has helped me taste the joyous side of life. He sees beyond my blindness. With his love, he has turned me into a queen.