One year ago today, June 7, 2014, I married my best friend. We were given the tried and true advice that a real marriage is when you support each other through the good and bad, that you forgive, that you forget. Well, there is no forgetting the last 12 months.

In the past year, our family said hello to two more babies. Two of my sisters welcomed newborns into their homes; one by birth, the other through foster/adoption. But it doesn't matter how they arrived, it matters that they know love and they received it in bunches. Throughout their lives they too will experience the good and bad. They will need to learn to forgive and forget. They will experience His love.

With happiness and joy, sadness may come our way too. Both Jean and I lost aunts, sisters of one of our parents. While it is sad that they passed, our true sadness saw another passing. Mine.

No, I didn't die and this is not some creepy letter written through some psychic, but my passing is that of an active life as I knew it. Last autumn I began to experience on a more frequent basis a lack of coordination, headaches, fatigue and increased tremor. In November, I told Jean something had to be done. I needed to see a doctor.

Appointments were made, tests were run, and many possibilities were ruled out. On January 9th, the doctor looked at Jean and I and said the words that would test our ability to forgive, forget, and our understanding of good and bad. Parkinson's paralysis antigen, aka Parkinson's disease.

Initially, it hit Jean hard, and there are times that it is difficult to cope knowing what lies ahead for both of us. I will never get better, there is no miracle drug that takes it all away,but with diet, exercise, and hard work, we could keep the effects from taking a stranglehold on our lives. Our good and bad are measured in days where we are or are not able to walk without assistance. So far we have been able to work our way out of the risk for fall category, but that is because of physical therapy.

We both could have said that is it, parted ways, and not worry about the burden for two people to share and letting just me take the load. But that is not love. Jean said she married me, not Parkinson's. She loves me for who I am, not what I will become or was. She walks with faith when she says that she is there for me, that we are a partner in this fight.

She, nor I, will forget the day we were given the news. Forgiveness is manifested daily by love and acceptance. Accepting the fact that it is the disease that is appearing, not my desire to be funny or difficult. We each know joy that happens when I can walk another step without any support tools and sadness when the best way to get around is in a wheelchair. Good are days we strive for. Bad are days that we learn from.

On that day one year ago when we were married, no one mentioned how to love. They didn't have to because the best example of love and how to love was in our presence that day in the church and has been in our lives since day one of our relationship. God's love.This is what Jean and I follow daily. It is how we make it through each day.

Our lives are changed because we know the struggle that lies ahead, We also know that we are not alone. God is there. If this is just the first year, can you imagine how great the next twenty, thirty, or forty years will be? 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 NIV