I will never forget the first newsletter we did after Judy and I were married, and prior to going to Sudan years ago.
The common thing among missionaries, the expectation at that time, was that the wife does the written communication. So Judy dutifully sat down at our portable Olympia typewriter and placed a blank sheet of paper in it. I would occasionally hear a couple of whack-whack-whack of the keys. Then, in fifteen or twenty minutes I would hear the paper being pulled out and she would start over. After several hours I went in to see how she was doing.
I was dumbfounded. She had a few lines and not even a whole paragraph yet. I read it. It was, frankly, drivel. I asked her to get up. I took a seat. I slipped a new sheet in the typewriter, paused for a couple seconds and began whacking away. In less than fifteen minutes I had the thing written.
When I was done I handed it to Judy and she read it. And as she read it a tear formed and rolled down her cheek. What was difficult and frustrating to her was simple for me.
We learned a good lesson. Forget expectations. Work as a team and let each person do what he or she can do best.
What Judy does best can be summed up as: loving wife, loving mother, loving daughter, loving sister and patient-care advocate extraordinaire.
The worse it gets the better she is at it.
For her, there are two major aspects. Facts. And faith.
Cammie’s various illnesses have been complex on several levels. For Judy the facts present a giant puzzle with real life consequences. So it is highly important to get the facts right. And she is her father’s daughter. Not only do you want the facts right, you want to be precise in your use of words, which has demanded learning a whole new vocabulary, a medical vocab. I can not tell you the number of times we have sat down with medical staff and she starts asking questions and the first thing they ask is, “Are you a physician?” When she tells them she has no background in medicine they find it hard to believe.
So, you have the facts and you have the vocab to talk about the facts. Then you need to analyze it. This usually means some sort of a spread-sheet for her. Or an ordered listing of “if this…then that”. Ask me for it and I will send you the last one she did. Have a dictionary handy.
So, it is facts and faith. But not in that order. If you know Judy it is faith first. Always has been. She retreats to the Psalms. She sings hymns in the shower. She catches up on her devotional reading in waiting rooms. Faith undergirds everything she does.
And me? I am that stagehand that handles the props in the background. But I have a front row seat. And as I watch Judy do what she does best… a tear rolls down my cheek.
She makes it look easy.