This is the introduction of my book, Sick and Significant: The Indispensable Life of the Chronically Ill.
On August 19th, 1989, Margaret Ann Aldrich and Michael Joseph Robble (that’s me) were married in the small town of Cortland, NY. As I look back on that special day, two somewhat comical moments quickly come to mind. One is what Margaret’s dad, Pete Aldrich, the quick-witted retired dairy farmer, told her as they began to walk down the aisle. As she took hold of his arm, he said, “I better not walk too fast, cause they’ll think I’m in a hurry to get rid of ya.”
The second involves THE SONG. You see, for this wondrous event I wrote Margaret a song. Called I Love You Margaret, I had rehearsed it meticulously, wanting it to be of stellar quality for my new bride. Yet what I failed to take into account was that I had a major problem with stage fright. Singing it to her, one-on-one, wouldn’t have been a problem. . . but there were people at our wedding. Hundreds of people. And as the ceremony began, the fear of performing that ballad, with all those eyes burrowing through me, was paralyzing.
So, as Margaret approached the front of the auditorium, looking angelically beautiful while gently holding Pete’s arm, she lovingly gazed into my eyes and saw. . . fear. No, more like terror. If only I could have suppressed THE SONG for those precious moments as she gently walked toward me. I was being conquered by the potential of my musical failure, to be witnessed by the multitudes. Would my voice crack on the high notes? Would I have to swallow at the most inopportune of times?
Thankfully, see didn’t do an “about face” and leave me at the altar. It all worked out. The ceremony proceeded as planned, I got through the three minutes of torment in my musical Twilight Zone, (she and those in attendance actually enjoyed the song) and we were joyously married.
Little did I know that day that the second verse and chorus of my song would have prophetic-like implications. Here are the words:
As the years go by we’ll walk together
Ever by each other’s side.
And if trouble should come upon us
As one in Jesus we’ll abide.
I love you, Margaret
I am and always will be your friend.
I love you, Margaret
My love for you will never end.
Trouble, in the form of medical hardship, came upon us quickly. Our lives were thrust on a course we never anticipated. If you are reading this, chances are you find yourself today in a similar situation. Have most of the dreams you once had for you or your family been extinguished? Are you straining to see God’s love for you in all of your difficulties? Do you feel like, because of your circumstances, the Lord has put you on the shelf of irrelevance?
I pray our story, really the Lord’s story as weaved in us, will encourage you. For as you shall see, our dreams may have been crushed, but Jesus’ love and purpose for us wasn’t. As I look back, I am amazed at all the Lord did, and is still doing, because of what he determined was normal for us. Please read on, and see, whatever your health problems may be, that you truly are Sick and Significant.