“I, Leslie, take you, Mike, to be my wedded husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward…”
Today is Mike and my anniversary. I remember so many things about that day. It was truly meaningful and a ton of fun for me. I remember saying my vows and having my voice go 2 octaves higher as I lost control and sobbed through them. I felt so blessed to have found such a good guy; he was my diamond in the rough. I remember at our rehearsal dinner, TK shared about how they roomed together at Purdue and Mike insisted on taking the closet-sized bedroom so TK could have the regular-sized one as an example of Mike’s selflessness. Our new life together was filled with adventure and the promise of good things to come.
“…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer…”
And good things came. Mike had a super job lined up. We moved to the great city of Chicago. We became part of a diverse, mission-minded church that has become family to us. We had 2 adorable boys who light up our lives every single day. We have become a part of a neighborhood and school community full of wonderful people and friends. Life could not get any better.
“…in sickness and in health…”
You know where we are now. Mike continues to have pain, no specific causal diagnosis, no signs of improvement. The longer this goes on, the more he feels cursed. The longer this goes on, the deeper he slips into darkness. I think I can handle his physical ailments. I think I can handle the uncertain future and whatever changes may have to come however drastic. I think I can even handle some anxiety and sadness. But dealing with the growing darkness that has consumed him so that he has almost become a different person altogether makes me miss the man I married 8 years ago. It is hard. And I am failing in so many ways when it comes to loving him as I should. But like him, I am trying. We are both trying so hard even if it seems impossible for him to hope and see beyond himself and impossible for me to be encouraging and patient.
“…to love and to cherish, ’till death do us part. I pledge you my faithfulness.”
In times of testing, words are not just words. They go beyond formality, way beyond lip service. I think of these vows spoken 8 years ago in a different time and a different place. Whether on the mountain top or in the deep valley, I still mean them. Now I know that I really do because I can say them here in the barren wilderness. I still live and swear by them. Michael Beckett, YOU CANNOT GET RID OF ME. We are in this war together and I will fight with you till the end, love of my still very blessed life.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom. 8:31b