Devoted Spouse: A Local Inspiration!

“Devoted”, how is it defined? A dictionary stated “very loving, loyal, faithful, true, staunch, steadfast, constant, committed, dedicated, devout.”  I do not witness devoted spouses very often, but when I do I marvel.

I received a phone call recently from a woman that I met many years ago. She called to tell me that her husband had been stricken with ALS (“Lou Gehrig disease”), a debilitating and ultimately deadly disease. The call brought forth a memory – and a tear.

I met this couple, Joe and Sally, many years ago when I was a young priest in Decatur, Georgia. They came to the church I was stationed at, St. Thomas More. They liked my sermons and thought they might like me to marry them in the church. I met with them, did the pre-marriage ritual and them had the privilege of united them in marriage for the Church and State.

They were a unique couple, especially back in the late 60’s. Joe is Caucasian, Sally is African-American. Joe served in the Air Force, retired and began a life as an Educator, retiring as a Principal of an Atlanta High School. Sally was a teacher, with a bright mind and compassionate heart. Their marriage was the first interracial marriage in Georgia.

Joe and Sally, now retired, live in the Lake Oconee area. As a result of the onset of ALS Joe currently has lost much muscle in his arms and, thus, is not able to feed or bathe himself. Sally, devoted wife, makes sure he eats and is clean! She loves him dearly and does all she can do to help him through this challenging time.

I write this both as a testimony to Joe and Sally, for their service to humanity and their steadfast love for each other over the years. Also, I share this as a reminder that true committed love does whatever it takes to share the joys and burdens that life presents to a couple.

I saw another devoted mate at a closer level. My Father developed Alzheimer’s disease at the age of fifty five. He died at age 68. In those intervening years my Mother heroically took care of him night and day until such time that he needed assisted living. She loved her “Jake” and took care of him with all she could muster – a “devoted” wife!

I am fortunate to be in a marriage where both Sherry and I know that no matter what travails lie in store, we are totally there for the other. Our mutual devotion runs deep. A comforting feeling!

Respected Reader, I hope that you have, or will create, a marriage that has a devoted love at its core. Thank you, Sally (and Mom) for the reminder!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

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