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Working for Others While in the Shadows, by Murray Hohns

My wife and I have recently been showering together, and I thought I would share what that has meant. I realize that at first glance such activity may not seem proper to mention in a theological journal, but it is.

My story starts when I turned awkwardly to look at the new score board in the nearby University Arena, someplace where we have regularly attended various athletic events for the past 17 years. Our current season started in August, and we were there. The announcer was introducing the glorious new score board, and the thousands in attendance all looked at it as the lights came on. I was sitting directly under and somewhat to the side of the new score board, and when I stretched my neck to see it I knew right away I had hurt myself.

That was eight months ago, and I have struggled with my neck and the discomfort it has since presented everyday. I have been to all kinds of doctors and trainers, prayed for relief as have others on my behalf, and while I am somewhat better, I have not had complete deliverance from my woes. I simply hurt all the time, just a dull ache that transverses my shoulders and my neck. The pain never goes totally away.

The discomfort climaxed in January when my wife took me to the ER around 1:00 AM one night. They took some X-rays, gave me an injection of morphine, a prescription for valium, and sent us home where I slept for two weeks. As that season came to an end, I found that I had lost all my leg strength, and that I could not stand. My balance was gone, and I was in danger of falling— I did fall five times.

I weigh more than I should, and more than my wife can lift, so she needed help to get me upright or seated. My wife somehow came up with two men to lift me each time I fell. She followed that up with a wheel chair, then a walker as I started to improve, a chair for the shower and a cane. Now I walk almost like I always did.

My plight meant I needed help for the simplest things, and I watched with gratitude and admiration as my wife assumed the responsibility to provide all I needed. That included getting into the shower with me and washing me. This went on for three or four weeks.

We have been married a long time, and I wondered what I would have done without my bride who took care of me with a tender grace—an expression of care that meant I was important. Jesus told us about the difference between a shepherd and a hireling. I get to talk to people about their lives and marriages, and I have experienced the value of a spouse who cares. We have one daughter who lives on the island near us, and she told me that she thought she was losing her dad, that I was on my deathbed. My wife told me she too believed that I was dying.

God was gracious, and has restored me almost back to where I was before they lit up that scoreboard. While I now expect full restoration, I experienced some significant learning in this incident.

I learned how valuable, wonderful and good it is to have someone who cares for you when you are down, when there is a crisis and you need help. I urge you not to wait until crisis comes, but to begin to express that caring for your spouse starting right now and by so doing, to build a relationship that will reward both of you all day everyday.

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2012

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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