It's been many years since I read a book by Joni Eareckson Tada, but I need to credit her with widening my interest in Christian nonfiction and memoirs. I've also had at least one devotional book written by Joni, so I was somewhat aware of her marriage to Ken. And I faintly remember hearing something about her cancer diagnosis several years ago, so of course I was interested when I learned they had penned a book together about their marriage. When I found it in audio format, I was even more delighted. However, there must have been many other delighted people because I think I waited quite awhile between placing my name on the hold list at Wisconsin Public Library Consortium and actually being able to download the book.
It was worth the wait. I usually listen to audio books when in the midst of projects that take a concentrated block of time. In this case, I learned about the ups and downs of Ken and Joni's marriage while washing the windows on the lower level of our house. Like most people, I don't like washing windows, and these windows involve alternating between being inside the house and outside the house. Listening to the narrator describe the couple's wonderful story of meeting, then marrying despite Joni's quadriplegia was inspiring. That they have traveled all over the world, even behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s to bring awareness and caring was even more inspiring. But learning that behind the public view this couple struggled as all couples do made an impact just as strong. That both could grow in their faith, but be stagnant in the their relationship will probably speak to many couples. Joni and Ken both view Joni's cancer as an opportunity to clearly redefine their marriage and an opportunity to truly live their vows.
The narration, delivered in third person, lets the listener (reader) experience both partners's thoughts, but at a wider perspective that it might have been if Joni and Ken had told the story themselves. They do speak at the end of the audio, and that short segment packs an emotional impact. I hope to do a little web searching to find some videos of other messages by them.
If you are like me and have a faint recognition of this duo and their work, I would recommend you learn more about the private life of the Tadas. Even those who have no previous knowledge of the pair, but are married or thinking about marriage, should consider this view of a commitment made stronger by hardship.