The sacrifice of love

February 16, 2023

By Jeff Becraft


Last weekend, our 3-year-old granddaughter came into town to spend the weekend with us. This was a big deal for all of us.

After a full Friday afternoon and all day on Saturday, Eleanor started not feeling well. A little before 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, we started seeing again everything she had eaten that day… all over the living room floor with some of it being captured by the kitchen floor (which is a lot easier to clean up). Our 16-year-old dog, Moe, walked all through it. (What does go on in that big head of his…)

What we thought was just an upset stomach, turned into a brutal ordeal for her over the next 2 ½ hours and she eventually started throwing up blood. That was it for us and we took her to the pediatric ER at the children’s hospital. They wound up admitting her and she spent two days in the hospital with IV’s run in her. The hospital staff was fantastic and I am so thankful we had a children’s hospital to go to. Eleanor was an absolute trooper and she won my respect.

In the midst of it all was my wife Brenda. She was right in the thick of it, holding Eleanor in her arms on the couch and dealing with the yang that was coming out of her. I was on the peripheral helping in whatever way I could, but Brenda was right in the middle.

I saw lived out right in front of me what true love is. Brenda didn’t hesitate for a moment but was right in the mire for the sake of her granddaughter. She carried Eleanor everywhere when we headed to the hospital. She sacrificed herself to be in the middle with Eleanor in her suffering.

Eleanor’s mom, Deanna, drove all the way down from North Carolina that night and spent the whole time with Eleanor in the hospital over the next couple of days. When she arrived at the ER, she scooped Eleanor up in her arms and kissed her cheek.

Brenda has been really sick all week (although with very different symptoms). Deanna just made it back to NC when the deluge started for her.

There is a price for love. True love involves sacrifice. No greater love is there than a person laying down their lives for another.

I told Brenda later how much I admired her and how she was a living example to me of sacrificial love… totally abandoning herself for someone else. I told her it was one of the things that had originally attracted me to her. (Back in college, Brenda had trudged through deep snow on foot, by herself, at night, to go help someone who said they wanted to take their own life.)

By the grace of God, I never got sick. I have been wearing a mask, isolating in the back room of our house and washing my hands like I work for the CDC. I have been avoiding people at work just in case I might be carrying something. Yes, I helped to clean up, I drove everyone to the ER, and I was back in the ER with Eleanor and Brenda until Deanna arrived… and I had been exposed to Eleanor and I love Eleanor… but I was not in the middle like Brenda. Brenda and Deanna bear the scars of real love.

Feelings and emotions fluctuate; they can come and go. But real love involves sacrifice. It gets in the middle.


Jeff Becraft is the Interim Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].