“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Ephesians 5:22-32, KJV
“Two hearts, two hearts that beat as one; our lives have just begun. Forever I’ll hold you close in my arms, I can’t resist your charms! And love, oh love, I’ll be a fool for you! I’m sure you know I don’t mind… ‘Cause you? You mean the world to me! Oh, I know I’ve found in you-my endless love…”
Lionel Richie & Diana Ross,”Endless Love,” 1981
Once upon a time, there lived a young woman who desperately wanted a family of her own. She prayed every day and every night that God would one day send her a good man. She hoped that the man would become her husband and she would become a Mommy and they would all love each other and live happily ever after…
In another land, far away from the young woman, there lived a young man. He was very sweet and very kind. He also longed for the day that he would meet his bride. But as the years passed, he began to lose hope of ever finding true love; thus, he accepted the fate that he was doomed to live the rest of his life alone…
As it turns out, the young man and woman eventually found each other. They fell in love immediately, had a beautiful, bouncing, baby boy and got married soon after the birth of their child.
This is no fairy tale; in fact, the woman is my sister, Shannon and the man is my now brother-in-law, Ervin. They are truly my most favorite couple of all time. Let me tell you why:
My sister had her first seizure when she was seven years old. We found out later that she had epilepsy and although her seizures could be controlled with medication, she would suffer from the effects of the disease for her entire life. Because of epilepsy, and her medication, Shannon’s mental capacity is slightly delayed-she doesn’t always grasp concepts as quickly as most people. In spite of her limitations, my parents and I always, ALWAYS encouraged Shannon to be whatever she wanted to be. We taught her to be independent and strong.
Ervin has a similar story. He had a stroke when he was very young that left him with some permanent brain damage. Both he and Shannon were considered learning disabled for their entire academic careers, but they both managed to graduate from high school and lead productive lives in society. As they grew older, Shannon and Ervin watched relatives, friends and associates leave the nest, get married, have children. Different men and women came into their lives that misused and abused them because of their disabilities and they became discouraged. Neither one of them truly believed that they would ever find true love.
But God’s plan was for their paths to cross, and nothing or no one could change that. A year after they met, Jacob was born, then a year later, on Valentine’s day, they tied the knot. They chose that day because it was easy to remember and so their anniversary would be on the day we celebrate love.
Eager to find a place of their own, Shannon and Ervin began the search for their first apartment together. The idea of my sister being alone with the baby for multiple hours, daily, while Ervin worked to provide for them scared me to death. What if she had a seizure? What if she had one while holding the baby? I cried when they asked me to move in with them. They said they needed help with raising Jacob, as well as help with learning how to live on their own. Now, here we are, 3 years in and they have accepted the role of taking care of me as my health has deteriorated.
And so goes the story of how the precious love of Shannon and Ervin has changed my life. I could have been selfish, turned my back on them when they asked for my help. Fact of the matter is, I would have never forgiven myself if they made a rookie parent mistake that caused irreparable harm to Jacob. They would never be able to live down that kind of error. As for me, they could have passed the burden of assisting a visually-impaired, morbidly obese relative on to someone else, but instead, they told me I can stay as long as I want. Ain’t that just the sweetest thing? I thank God for them every day.
If you are blessed enough to have someone who truly loves you, cherish that, hold it close to your heart and spread that feeling to all those you can. You never know how much of an effect it could have on someone else. If you’re still looking for true love, be patient, don’t be discouraged, because love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Until next time…