Joni Eareckson's diving accident occurred five years before I was born so I had never known her to be able to walk. Growing up in a Christian home, I remembered hearing about her and am quite certain my mother had one of Joni's music records. However, life happened. Becoming a teenager, I had other issues to deal with - things which demanded my attention.
As I immersed myself in school, church, work, reading, playing music and writing, I soon had other things and people filling my thoughts. Though I would always recognize Joni's picture and admire not only her faith but her fighting spirit, thoughts of Joni Eareckton drifted to the background.
I knew she published books and released other music albums. I even knew she began painting with her mouth - but, not following her life, there was something I didn't know until December 29, 2013: imagine my surprise when I came across a book titled, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story! I didn't know Joni had gotten married. Of course, I had to purchase the book and read it.
Reading about Joni and Ken and the struggles they endured during their marriage - not only pertaining to the quadriplegia but the battles they faced in many areas of their lives and emotions - brought tears to my eyes.
I felt for Ken, understanding his need to have his space and freedom to fish, relax and read - to regroup - to have a break from the constant demands of being a caretaker.
I also felt for Joni when she, fully understanding Ken's need for a mental break, felt left out - especially in the early years when their weekends were spent with large chunks of time being spent apart.
Throwing myself into both Joni's and Ken's mindsets, I wondered what would happen between them - how they would cross such a divide. I was pulling for this couple to make it. Having already survived so much together, I couldn't see them giving up on their marriage.
Though I would like to have had an opportunity to learn more of Ken's thoughts and emotions, I knew he would never be able to bring himself to walk away from Joni - but something had to give because these two souls were becoming wounded, tired, even broken.
All the crippling pain Joni continued to feel was making Ken feel bad, even frustrated, because there was nothing he could do to ease her pain...and then the word, Cancer, entered their lives. As if life wasn't hard enough, now they had to face another battle...on top of everything else.
Strangely, Joni's Cancer diagnosis turned out to be a blessing; it turned out to be the bridge God would use to allow Joni and Ken to cross the divide which had built between them.
As I read the ensuing story, even as they faced a battle with Cancer - I felt a sense of peace and joy, knowing everything would work out in the end, that these two souls would go on to grow stronger together, both in God and as a couple. I can only hope I can meet both of them some day.
In spite of wishing the story had been told chronologically instead of using so much flashback, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story was very inspiring. When two people truly love each other - have a commitment to make their marriage a success - there is no end to the possibilities which await.
I feel blessed on a personal level and believe I came across this book, at this time, for a reason. I look forward to learning what that reason is.