I am fiercely protective of my wife.
Any man would be. With all she’s going through, I only want her to be seen in a good light. So, though I’m only an amateur with a camera, I try to use my lens and words to lift Joey up.
Like any woman, my wife is self-conscious about what cancer has done to her. Who she sees in the mirror these days looks like someone else… not the woman that she feels like she is inside. And it hurts her deeply.
I know that. So, I carefully choose what I share. It would break my heart to have the thousands of ‘before’ photos out there of her looking beautiful and healthy all these years… be replaced in people’s minds and hearts by a single ‘after’ photo of what cancer has done.
She wants to be remembered as a singer of songs. A devoted wife. A loving mother. Not a cancer patient.
And so I have tried to be very careful. To honor her.
But my wife is braver than me.
A few days ago, she asked me to close the door and sit beside her. We talked for a long time about where we are and where this was most-likely leading. Then she asked me to show her some of the pictures and video that I had been taking lately. I honestly didn’t want to show her, but I did. She looked and watched – and like too many times these days, her tears fell.
Then she wiped our tears and asked me questions. Lots of questions. I did my best to answer them. She wanted to know what was being said outside of this house. Out in the real world.
I told her. I told her what was happening. At least what I thought seemed to be happening. That somehow, people – a lot of people – have been following her story. Our story. And how she was inspiring others with her courage. And how what I’ve been writing has been encouraging others in ways too.
And we talked about how much is too much to share. How honest do we really want to be?
It’s like questioning God about the twists and turns he’s brought into our life in the last few years… and asking Him “how much is too much?”. Sometimes I feel like shouting, “we get it God…you’re in control. Life is fragile and all we have is today”. But He just keeps bringing more story and more pain, and more beauty… all at the exact same time.
So together, we made some decisions. This is our life. It’s what He has given us to live. And share.
Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
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