I texted a friend the other day that 2019 was kicking my butt. In fact, as I type this I am in the fetal position. Not really, but not that far off. I am in my sweats on Valentine's Day evening. I live a super fancy life!
A few days after New Years, my husband had a retinal detachment in one of his eyes. When he told me what he thought was going on, we assumed he would go in to the doctor, get it fixed, and then he would be back on his way in his fast-paced life.
Well, things didn't go down like that. Upon going to the surgeon, we learned that his OTHER eye also had a partial detachment.
I won’t bore you with the details of the surgeries and procedures. I want to share with you the greatest lesson I learned through the almost 4 weeks of constant togetherness.
Adam couldn't see for 3 weeks. 3 weeks. Imagine! He also was confined to very strict positioning to avoid pressure on certain areas of his eyes.
Folks, it was horrible. Mostly for him, but also for me. There was urgency, and in the fast-moving decisions and problems to be solved, there was fear.
We walked those 3 weeks not knowing how much of Adam’s eyesight would be there after the surgeries. The surgeon’s words were terrifying. His statements of “we are trying to save the left eye” and “possible loss of vision” were circulating in my thoughts.
So for weeks, I took care of my husband. I walked him to the bathroom. I gave him approximately 1 million eye drops. I got his clothes and helped him change. I practiced patience with the comfortable (horrifyingly ugly) outfits he insisted on wearing. I got him water when he was thirsty. I made sure he had audio books. I stopped the audio book when he couldn't find the button to pause it. I have never taken on the role of caretaker like I did in the month of January 2019.
And it was a great gift to me.
I didn't learn a gazillion lessons through this experience. Really, there were only a couple. But the biggest one was that God helped me awaken a tenderness that had been asleep in our marriage.
Tenderness. That was my lesson.
Ya know, life is busy. We have kids going different directions. College is on the horizon. Middle School drama. And kids need to eat and other annoying things like that. Tenderness gave way to check lists, insurance payments, and wanting to just get everything done so we can watch a Netflix show and go to sleep.
I can be tender, don't get me wrong. When Adam has a hard day, I can listen. I can empathize. But because of the pace of life, I can get caught up in the tasks to the point that I forget to be gentle, caring... tender.
Tender is a strange word. I think of a good steak. I think of a wound or a bruise that doesn't want to be touched.
But "tender" is the word that God kept bringing to me. As I was caring for him, I realized that what he needed was a back rub, or to just touch his hand when I was showing him where his fork was. God helped me to be tender when his eye drops hurt to the point of agony.
Adam is a tough man. He's strong. He can work and work and still has the strength to serve and love and give. But the toughest of men still needs tenderness. Life is scary. To have a place of safety is a gift that I wish everyone could know.
Marriage can be a safe haven for us to return to and be nurtured by... you guessed it... tenderness.
In fact, as I sit here typing this blog in my favorite coffee shop, I don't think it is coincidence that the music playing softly overhead was in our wedding. Canon in D. Soft. Tender. Like marriage should be.
p.s. Adam is doing well. While not at 100% vision, we are thankful for the surgeries’ success and vision in both eyes!
What do you think? I would love to know! What experiences have helped you be tender with the people around you?