This year, we went to visit a widow I know but haven't seen in quite some time. Mrs. Mary's husband sang in the choir with us. Such a sweet couple. He died several years ago and Mrs. Mary is now in a nursing home. When we got there, R's Deacon partner had already arrived. Mrs. Mary greeted us warmly, and they told us they were chatting about her husband. When I asked her how long he'd been gone, she said he'd been working in Pennsylvania for about 6 months now, but she gets letters and phone calls from him nearly every day.
My heart started to break right there in the hallway.
Mrs. Mary went on and on about how she's having to do things she's never had to do before...writing checks and paying bills. We talked about how he's taking good care of her, how he loved singing in our choir and misses it, and how his co-workers look after her. I could hardly contain the tears.
During our service, Mrs. Mary read the Scriptures aloud, sang and prayed. For those brief moments, she seemed quite lucid. When we were through, I spotted a photograph taken on their wedding day and a plaque commemorating their 50th anniversary. Mrs. Mary spent more than half a century caring for the love of her life. She's still doing it. She told me she knows he isn't eating right on the road and she wants to go back with him so she can cook him decent meals. She misses him terribly, and wants him home soon.
She doesn't realize he already is.
What first struck me as terribly sad now seems like a gift. After you've been married that long, how do you get through the day without your spouse? How do you get out of bed, knowing you're not going to see your beloved again in this world? How do you make yourself content with that? Perhaps the Lord knew that Mrs. Mary wouldn't be able to face life without the man who'd taken such good care of her for so long. Maybe He knew that every day her heart would shatter under the weight of such heavy grief, so He's allowed her to escape the burden and pain. Instead of living out her life without her mate, Mrs. Mary is lost in the memories of a lifetime of love.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.~Song of Solomon 8:6