This blog post is written by my friend Larry Dieno. I met Larry when I was facilitating a study called a “Life of No Regrets.” Little did our group know that one day Larry would be faced with decisions that would change the course of his family’s life. Larry’s words in this article ring true, because he has walked every step of this journey of faith and commitment.
April 19, 2003. Janet and I stood before God, family and friends to declare our love and commitment to each other for the rest of our lives. Little did we know how one day that commitment would be tested.
Our first nine years together were a whirlwind. We started out with five of our combined seven kids living with us, all of them active in a variety of sports and community activities. Rarely did we have time to just be with each other and grow our relationship, as our focus was mostly on the “crisis and kid of the day”. Without commitment to each other, our marriage may not have survived that hectic period in our marriage.
Gradually, not suddenly as we feared, each child found their way to some sort of independence. This new independence gave us the gift of time, but before we fully knew what to do with it…everything changed.
May 15, 2012, Janet suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. This left her in a coma for a month and now began the long slow road to recovery, the end result of still remains unknown. Some would call this a tragedy and they would be correct, but that’s not how I choose to look at it. To me it is simply a life changing moment that required me to remember that day nine years ago and I spoke the words: “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” We are all familiar with those words; we’ve all half listened to them as they were spoken at other people’s weddings. But when I got a call from my panic stricken son after he found his mom lying on the floor, those words resonated loud and clear and soon became a harsh reality. God spoke loud and clear to me that day, “Now it is now time to start living those words of commitment. “
So what does commitment look like? I had to remember that those wedding vows which were spoken in front of God, family and friends; were not just between the two of us. From the very beginning friends stepped up to help me by providing rides, comforting me and helping me to remember things that I had forgotten because of the distractions in the hospital. Commitment.
Our family is spread out all over this great land of Canada, and thankfully we have the means to move about it. All of Janet’s children were in Vancouver during the most critical days. Previously it had been hard to get them all together at one time but there they were… taking bedside shifts, comforting each other and supporting me during a roller coaster period of time. They remember it as one of the “best” times they have spent together. Thanks to technology, our family was able to keep in touch during this difficult time, and offer prayers and encouragement to each other. We still do this today, except now Janet can participate as well. We had family in Kelowna looking after our house and dog while we were away, and other people who don’t routinely engage in our family life made contact and offered support. Commitment.
I have been blessed with being part of a strong faith community and the relationships that we have built were definitely God’s way of preparing me for the changes to come in our lives. Without my faith and the network of people God placed in my life I would not have been able to live out my commitment to Janet. I would have felt fear, anger, despair and lacking in confidence to make key decisions. God’s commitment to me has enabled me to love Janet more than ever. God has taught me to trust that He is at work through this and He will do good things through it. Janet has progressed to the point where she recognizes the commitment so many people have made to help with recovery. This knowledge and awareness motivates her to keep working hard.
Commitment is a two way street. If you were reading carefully at the beginning of this article you would have picked up on the fact this is marriage number two for both Janet and I. We each spoke words of commitment to another person before. Did we fail previously? Yes. Were we uncommitted previously? No. You cannot truly commit to another person without them committing to you as well. God is committed to all of us and will never leave us. I am committed to Janet and will never leave her. Commitment seems to be lacking in the world today and I pray that our story is a testament to how true commitment has the power to overcome any adversity.
PLEASE STOP AND CHECK OUT LARRY AND JANET’S INCREDIBLE, INSPIRING MESSAGE OF HOPE
Here’s the link. http://vimeo.com/62907312
If you wish to learn more about commitment, Pastor Craig Groeschel taught a series entitled From This Day Forward that really hit home for me. You can watch it here.
If you wish to follow our story more closely I invite you to our blog, http://www.houdieno.wordpress.com