Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Disarming Anniversary

As of next week, I have been married for 36 years, half of them to a right-handed man and half to a left-handed one. I suppose you could argue it’s the same man. Like greatness, some people are born left-handed and others have left-handedness thrust upon them.

Many families can name a day that slashed a giant mark across their life’s timeline, forever dividing “before” from “after.” For us, it was September 29, 1995: the day Jon lost an argument with a piece of farm machinery and subsequently, his right arm. 

Once, after we described this before-and-after concept in a group setting, a friend nodded knowingly, then embarrassed herself by calling the event “The Great Cut-Off.” We all laughed wildly and learned laughter really can help.

To prove it, Jon’s been known to accuse long-winded people of talking his arm off.

I once told my husband he’d make a great magician because he has nothing up his sleeve. 

And when he took too long in Polo Park one day, I threatened to leave him behind, reasoning he could hitchhike home since he still had a thumb.

I know. Be quiet. 

Did you know there are actually advantages to being left-handed? Everyone knows you can’t sit left of a lefty at the dinner table, or you’ll bump elbows. Smart southpaws use this to their advantage to gain a spot with more space. 

Apparently, many more words can be typed solely with the left hand than with the right.

And southpaws also have an easier time writing in Hebrew because it’s written from right to left. How handy is that?

However, finding advantages to being one-handed proved a greater challenge. But if he ever visits Belarus, where clapping is outlawed because dissidents use applause as a form of protest, it is unlikely Jon will be arrested. Good to know.

This photo appeared with an article in our local paper four months after the accident.
Two days after his accident, we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary in the hospital. I remember falling asleep that night with the words of our marriage vows running through my head: “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part.” I particularly focused on the “for worse…for poorer… in sickness” sections. In the following weeks and months, all three would surface, but death had not parted us yet and for that, I was grateful. Neither of us knew there would be ugly days ahead when we would wish it had. I won’t lie to you—it sucks. 

But the God who promises to walk with us through the dark valleys keeps his word. In those early days, a peace settled over our home that can only be the result of hundreds of prayers raised on our behalf. We gained a new reverence for life, more gratitude for community, and a deeper perspective on what matters. We grew closer as a family and felt ourselves carried along by a sweet spirit. Supportive friends and strangers blessed us in countless practical ways. I like to think our kids are more kindhearted people because this happened to us.

Would we get Jon’s arm back if we could? In a heartbeat.
But it’s been my bittersweet privilege to observe a man grow in his faith when he might have scorned it forever. Where he could display bitterness, I’ve seen him instead demonstrate compassion toward fellow strugglers because everyone carries their burden of seen and unseen pain. I’ve watched him tackle the daily challenges of one-handedness in a two-handed world with patience, determination, courage, and grace. I am certain I would not have done as well, and I am proud of my lefty.

Happy Anniversaries, Jon. And safe harvest, everyone.


  1. Now this is the best anniversary card a wife could give her husband ever, and Hallmark had no part of it! Love that you shared your love story.

  2. Beautifully said. Honest. Honoring. I love it.

    1. Thank you, Susan. You and Ken are an inspiration, too.

  3. This turned out really well. Your husband should feel quite loved and honored. Lucky to know you, wish I knew your hubby too.