Living Out Love
I’d see them every Sunday morning as they drove into the church parking lot. He’d drop her off by the front door, and then she’d wait for him as he went to park the car, greeting whoever was at the front door with a sweet smile and warm hug. Then as he’d lumber up to the entryway, he would reach out his long arms for a giant, heart-warming embrace.
Both in their mid-eighties, the contrast between the two was proof that opposites attract, at least in terms of size. Broad-shouldered and tall, he’d been an airman during the Vietnam War. She looked frail and petite, as if a puff of wind would knock her over, but her voice was low and strong. Yet despite their differences in appearance, one common factor bound them strongly together - the love that they had for each other, coupled with their shared desire to love God and love others.
However, that love was tested when she was diagnosed with an aneurysm in her brain – a blood clot that, with increasing size, could rupture at any moment, causing multiple strokes, leading to death. In the face of this enormous uncertainty of if and when the clot would rupture, she didn’t become depressed and begin waiting for the end to come. In fact, she was fairly insistent on remaining independent, much to the dismay of her husband, who did his best to make things easier for her, gently scolding her about doing too much. Instead of focusing on the deadly diagnosis and the eventual outcome of her disease, they resolved to cherish each moment, as each moment could be their last one together.
I’ll never forget one particular morning they walked into church. It was raining, and he had dropped her off at the covered walkway, as usual. After giving us her customary hugs and kisses, she turned around and gazed out the window at her husband, slowly making his way from their green minivan to the church.
She said to us softly, in that low, strong voice of hers, “He is so good. He is so good to me. Isn’t he wonderful? When I’m about to vacuum or dust, he’ll just say, ‘Don’t bother, I’ll do it’. He’s just wonderful.”
Those sweet, endearing words caused me to tear up, and after he walked in and gave us the customary hugs, they took each other’s hands and lovingly glanced at each other as they strolled into the sanctuary.
It was one August, during a spell of warm weather, that she suddenly slipped away. She had been doing what she loved – cleaning out her kitchen. Although he had offered to help, his hands were too thick and burly to thoroughly clean those dusty nooks and crannies to her liking, so she got down on her hands and knees to scrub down under the sink. The doctors said the sudden circulation of blood to her brain caused the clot to rupture.
I’ll never forget her and the love she and her husband shared, both with each other and to others. I can’t help but marvel at the trust they had in God. Even with so many other additional health problems, they just kept placing their trust in Him, putting him first in everything. What a great privilege and learning opportunity to be able to witness such faith in action, and their commitment toward each other in their marriage.
I know that she has no more pain, and now inhabits a wonderful, healthy body. And she’s no longer on her hands and knees washing the kitchen floor, but rather on her knees worshipping the Lord in all His glory. Yet sometimes as I stand at the door of the church, I can almost see that green van pulling up to the sidewalk. I can almost feel her arms wrapping around me, her lips on my cheek. And I can hear her low voice echoing “He’s so good to me. Isn’t he wonderful?”