Late in the day of a recent October Sunday, Molly persuaded me to accompany her on her walk along the creek. It was late afternoon, and the sun was shining through the trees along the river bank. It was a perfect afternoon.
As we approached the renewed children's park beside the path, I noticed a man sitting on a bench facing the small playground. I noted how warm the sun was for him. He was just soaking it in. Beside him, in a wheelchair, reclined his wife of many years, now suffering a debilitating disease that left her quiet and motionless at his side. He was holding her hand.
We sat down beside them. We had been friends for many years. Now, the circumstances of their life were greatly changed.
At one point in our conversation, he declared, "I have no problems. We had 50 years together, raising our children. I have everything: wonderful memories, and time together every day."
There was no note of self-pity, or sense of wrong about how dramatically their life had changed. His whole bearing was so positive, so faithful.
In my heart I often grieve over these sudden changes in the lives of couples coming into old age in our retirement setting. If I complain, Molly stops me short. "Remember, we are here to learn from these people - about life. About how to face it, and live it out."
She is right. We were witness to "the peace that passes all understanding" in the life of this couple experiencing their "golden years" in a way they never had expected when they started out on their long journey of marriage together.
The man talked cheerily of their long life and present days. No remorse. Just acceptance. Utter faith in the Lord they love. And a commitment to each next step before them, no matter how difficult it might be, or how sad.
We left chastened and deeply moved. It was so vivid in our minds. These two, sitting quietly in the sun, loving each other. Living faith. Acting out the deep peace God had given them.
I thought I knew the answer. But, its not so simple. It is a lot about Jesus and His love. It is about following faithfully - indeed heroically, the Lord of Love. And clinging to Him, and to each other.
What a witness they make. How humbling to us all. To be so deeply taught by the remarkable lives of these Christian friends.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES