Chapter 14
Love Changes Things: March 30, 2012

’Cause you got me, and baby, I got you. Babe, I got you, babe.
—Sonny Bono

Come close and lean in hard. Just peek around the corner of this curtain, and you can glimpse thirty-nine years of marriage—a marriage not merely spent sticking it out, but rather, sticking together.

This weekend is not just an ordinary weekend in the lives of my mom and dad. This Saturday, March 30, they will celebrate thirty-nine years of marriage. My dad knew this weeks ago, when he originally planned to drive the bus for a youth-group trip to Branson, Missouri. Since days and dates aren’t really a big deal for Mom right now, he thought they would celebrate either before or after he left.

But love changes things.

If you could pull back the curtain of my parents’ thirty-nine years of marriage, you would see laughter—lots of laughter. You would see a home filled and bustling with constant company and warmth. You would see pictures of friends, collected over a lifetime, hanging on the refrigerator. You would see sticky notes and to-do lists all over the house, reminding Mom and Dad of meetings and errands. You would see their bedroom set up as a haven for rest and intimacy. And their king-size bed neatly made with love—noticeable love.

I imagine Mom and Dad never dreamed in their thirty-ninth year, their story would be written this way, with Dad gently lifting Mom’s broken body onto a plastic stool to bathe her with his farm-boy hands and his preacher-man heart. In this story, Mom hears his solid, confident voice reading her Bible study to her because she can no longer read. He chops Mama’s food into bite-sized pieces and places a bib around her neck. He weaves her through crowds in her wheelchair, after he places Mama’s hands in her lap so the wheels don’t tear up her timeworn hands. And every night as the sun sets, he tenderly pulls cozy blankets over the frail and weary reflection of his bride, his beloved wife.

How can anyone’s heart survive such heart-wrenching darkness, you ask?

Because love changes things.

After ten and a half years of marriage, I thought I had a pretty firm grasp on love. But now, as I watch how my daddy loves my mama through the horrible, awful of Alzheimer’s disease, I fear I have much to learn.

I cannot read my dad’s mind, but I know he ended up wanting to be with my mom on their anniversary because love changes things. Dad chose Mom. He has been choosing Mom for well over thirty-nine years.

My mom will no sooner remember this act than she will remember the numbers of the multiplication chart. But he will always know. I will always know. You will always know. The love of this man is neither deterred nor diminished by the ugliness of Alzheimer’s.

Dad and Mom,
“Happy Anniversary” seems so inadequate!
Thank you for loving each other, not giving up on each other, holding each other close on sweet days and on sour days. Thank you for pouring love onto each other, day after day, year after year. Thank you for laying down your lives for each other and for constantly pursuing Jesus and each other. Thanks for saturating each other in grace and forgiveness so love would have a place to grow.
I am the wife I am because I was unbelievably blessed through witnessing your marriage, your love for each other, and your utter dependence on Jesus to see you through.
Thank you for allowing love to change you.

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