“Sally and Brad love” is not Blind

GUEST ARTICLE

“Sally and Brad love”

is not Blind

!

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19).

The most powerful part of Sally and Brad’s story is that it’s TRUE.

Sally and Brad live in southern Louisiana and have been married for 16 years. When I met them, they were living in a very small house in a “not so nice” part of town.

After knocking on the door and after being told to come in, here is what I saw. The door almost hit the hospital bed located in the living room when I opened it. Two people were in the room: Sally was in the bed and her mother was standing beside her.

I must admit that I wasn’t ready for what I saw. Sally’s mother gave me the history that led up to what I encountered. When Sally and Brad had gotten married, both were full of life, very attractive and very much in love.  Unlike most others, they both took their vows seriously.

Sally began to experience physical problems shortly after their wedding. By their first anniversary, Sally was already using crutches, by their second she was in a wheelchair, and by their third, she was a “mental vegetable confined permanently to bed.  (Sally has been in this condition for almost 13 years.)

Her mother continued to explain how that Sally’s illness (multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders) had twisted her beautiful 5’6” body into a 70-pound nightmare.  Sally could not control her own urinary tract nor her bowel movements. She also was so nauseous that vomiting was a regular part of life.  This was my introduction to Sally.

About that time a car drove up to the house and Brad walked in the door.  The room was so little that he almost had to step on me when he walked over to Sally’s bed.  Without a word to anyone else, Brad said, “Hi, honey,” and walked over to her bed He calmly fluffed her pillow, straightened her arms and legs (as much as possible), kissed her on the cheek and spent about three or four minutes summarizing his day’s activities.  Sally was not aware of anything or anyone.  Then Brad turned to me and said, “I wasn’t trying to ignore you, but my wife comes first.”

Shortly after we started talking, Sally began vomiting.  She had done so twice before Brad could turn her on her side.  By the time he could get her special medicine down her, Sally had vomited several more times.  Without hardly getting aroused, Brad asked me to sit down and we resumed our talk while he cleaned up Sally, her gown and the sheets.  He told me that these were normal occurrences and that I shouldn’t feel badly for him or Sally.

He said, “I know that Sally would be doing the same for me if our roles were reversed.” He went on to explain that cleaning Sally and the bed were routine tasks.  (Remember, Sally vomited often and could not control her bowel movements.)  What COMMITMENT, DEDICATION AND LOVE!

Over the next few weeks I got to know Sally and Brad even better.  Brad was very open and willing to answer any questions. When I asked him why he had stayed with Sally, he told me, “I told Sally that I would stay with her until one of us died.  I didn’t tell her I’d stay only as long as she looked pretty, or could satisfy all my sexual needs.  Besides, when you really love somebody, you don’t want anyone else.”

Even Sally’s mother wouldn’t have blamed Brad if he had left her.  Brad’s commitment was too deep for that.  Not only is Brad still taking care of Sally, but he has been faithful to her for more than 16 years, 13 of which has seen no sexual contact between Sally and Brad.

One of the best parts of the story happened about two years ago. While dating, Sally and Brad used to take drives and talk about their future together.  Sally even had a favorite section of the town in which she hoped they could live some day.  With a great deal of youthful zeal Brad [said], “Sally, I’ll build you a house there someday.”  Two years ago Brad completed Sally’s dream house in the part of town where she always wanted to live.

If you were to enter their beautiful new house, do you know what you would still see in the living room?  That’s right.  Sally still lives in her hospital bed in the main room of the house.  I asked Brad once why he didn’t put Sally in one of the back bedrooms.  His answer still causes “goose bumps” to cover my neck.  “Mike, my wife comes first in my life.  If someone can’t stomach her as she is, I don’t want anything to do with them.”  THAT’S LOVE!        

The next time you are tempted to tell someone that you love them, remember this story of Sally and Brad.  If you don’t mean “Sally and Brad love,” do everyone a favor and be silent.

The next time someone tells you that they love you, tell them in detail (vomit, cleaning, no sexual relations, etc.) the story of Sally and Brad. Then ask them if that’s what they mean.  If it’s not, ask them to politely keep that word out of the conversation.

When someone asks me how to know what love between a boy and a girl really is, I simply point to Sally and Brad.  If all Christians would simply be that committed in their marriages, divorce would almost be non-existent.

What’s love, you ask?  “Sally and Brad love” is what love is.

–Mike Sublett

The Rocky Mountain Christian, March 1984, p. 13.

 

 

 

   

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