A Final LessonWe lowered the side rails on Grandpa's bed and wheeled Grandma as close as we could to her husband. Then, we stood back with wonder and watched her make one final concession: Grandma was letting her husband know it was okay to go Home.
Her tears dropped quietly onto Grandpa's face. He opened his eyes and puckered his lips. "You're here," he said.
"You didn't think I wouldn't be, did you?" Grandma quipped. And then she spoke to him as if there was no one else in the world, let alone in the room.
"Daddy," she said, "I love you. You've been the best husband I could have ever asked for. You have taken good care of me and our family. You are as handsome now as the day I met you and I know I will see you again soon. It's okay to go. It's okay. I'll see you soon - and I know you'll be looking for me. I know it won't be long."
Grandpa, who had not had been able to be hydrated for several days, looked at Grandma. A single tear fell from his eyes.
"I love you too." He said. "See you soon."
~ excerpt from The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to... Romance:
Nurturing Your Marriage Through the Homeschool Years, by Heidi St. John
Ken and I attended our first Homeschool Conference this past weekend. We were blessed, encouraged and affirmed. But one of the most poignant moments for us I'm sure was not the big take-away for most attendants. Heidi St. John was one of our main speakers, and she did a phenomenal job of speaking to our fears and our frazzles and championing us on towards the finish line. In her last session she spoke of the legacy of a real-life romance, and the love affair of her grandparents that lasted nearly 75 years.
I sat nestled into my husband's side, tears running the course of my cheeks and his. We sat quietly in a room full of people, right in the middle of gratitude for each day with one another and an offered prayer for God to stave off the day when we will have to say a temporary goodbye. We have learned through the years our balance is found in the middle of the Cord, Ken, me, and Him ~ the three of us not easily broken. Heidi read this story to life from the pages of her book, and we sat there breathing its air.
It is a very good story.
I see this couple, married five months, growing a baby four months along, and separated by military training and service ~ and I smile. We had stolen a kiss in the photo booth of the community center, behind the heavy curtain at BMT, and December 25th, 1989 Christ came into the world in that tiny space ~ the gift of a love story, long ago written.
Four chapters in, and we were parents to a daughter and a new son. We celebrated the unity brought by an ocean's width from family, distance that demanded we grow up together, grow old together, and remain faithful to the tale of one day at a time for the rest of time.We crossed that same ocean again 18 years later with three boys, leaving the daughter in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming and womanhood, and bringing the only wisdom of the ages, written in the Book ~ Finishing well is defined by loving well, one day at a time.
And here in this foreign land, not of Germany, but of disposable love, we thank God for our lack of understanding. Not our compassion, nor our yearning for others to know real love ~ no, our "I don't get it?" thick, fuzzy brains that struggle through the concepts of married friends who said they were waiting to have children until they knew for certain they were going to stay together forever. I thank God we've never "gotten it." It has never crossed our minds we would become broken, even in our brokenness.
We have lived and loved through so many dark places.
We did not enter this marriage with purity.
We would not have our children choose the path we found each other on.
We do not minimize the effort it takes to love beyond what today was so as not to settle in our tomorrow.
We grieve with friends who have held fiercely to the spine of their story, The One Flesh, arms locked tightly so it may not become unbound. And ache with those who have had them ripped apart, whole chapters torn out, shredded pages carried away like chaff in the wind.
Oh, we love you.And for tonight we will fold down the corner on the page. We will bookmark this day as we have each of the thousands of pages before. The story has been wild and beautiful. It has been quirky and fun, random and penned pages of emptiness at times. We have grown up and have learned how to play. And often times we have reread certain chapters so we remember the story is a romance ~ one of grand proportions.
But most importantly we know after the corner is turned down,
and the book is closed each evening,
we will have finished well.
Even if there are no more pages to write.
One day at a time.
This is a story we hope our Emily, Thomas, Benjamin and Samuel's great-grandchildren read.
The Legacy of Love, One Day at a Time
Allow your story to be written well, Favored One. Just keep turning down the corner at the end of each day and look forward with hope to what Love has written on tomorrow's page.
always counting grace...
1362. a sun-filled deck, birds singing, and warm sunshine on bare toes
1363. the peace of Christ
1364. Hope - for a future in community
1365. phone calls from a son, a heart to ache for his weariness, and a desire to hold him long and close even though he has been shot far from the bow
1366. split the air in a straight line, Thomas. Fly unhindered to the target.
1367. 16 days and I will be with all of my children and welcome the man that holds my daughter's heart in his hands into my own.
1368. We will travel. Two weeks in Texas and I will hold parents, siblings, and love so carefully in that space
1369. God provides.
1370. My husband is more than my best friend. We are one. I'm grateful that I know this mystery, and hope for years more of discovering it.