Testing Our Vows

I thought I would have my best friend forever. Now I wasn't so sure.

I have to go. I have a meeting." My husband, Dave, shuffled across the floor to pack his dust-covered briefcase.

"Dave," I called softly, "you don't have a meeting. You're on medical leave, remember?"

This was our weekly conversation Dave's first year of being disabled by chronic Lyme Disease. Dave was my best friend; he was the first to know my thoughts. And even though we have different interests, we were always able to communicate on a deep level. But slowly that all changed.

Dave's Lyme went undiagnosed for 15 years. It began in college when he had a four-month-long "flu-like illness," which sometimes marks the beginning of this tick-borne disease. Tiny deer ticks, which transmit Lyme Disease, can be found in the woods, in grassy areas, on park benches, and sometimes in backyards.

Over the years, Dave began to have headaches, dizziness, chemical sensitivities, joint pain, fatigue, depression, memory problems, and confusion. While physicians thought his symptoms were strange, no one discovered the cause until the symptoms progressed. Finally, Dave's illness forced him to leave his position as children's pastor at our church. That was four years ago.

One day when we were driving back from the doctor, Dave asked me what I was thinking. I told him how I was learning to rely on God and not my circumstances, though I desperately wanted circumstances I could rely on. Then I asked what he was thinking.

"The grass is green. It's a nice green."

Then he added, "I don't have deep thoughts anymore." These weren't the words of someone who didn't want to be intimate. He did—yet he comprehended his loss.

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Disease; Illness; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Fall, 2004
Posted September 12, 2008

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