Saturday, March 28, 2009

70 Years and Counting

If you visited my blog before, you may've picked up on reasons why I don't write for an exercise magazine … But when I was turning to go to the gym last week, I do believe that God delayed my work out by divine intervention. J Really. No fooling.

I was turning onto the very busy 4 lane road, when I saw two elderly people with goggle glasses on, the man carrying a white plastic bag and both using canes. She was fussing at him. Cars veered away from them, passing at high speed. I parked and did what my middle schoolers are embarrassed about me … I approached someone I didn't know to talk to them. I walked to the road and asked if I could give the couple a ride. "Oh, no, honey. We're fine. Just out for a walk. Beautiful day. We're both blind, but we're okay. He just keeps falling out into the road."

FALLING OUT INTO THE ROAD! That was all I needed to hear. They weren't getting rid of me.

I made some lame excuse and asked if I could walk with them down the (STEEP!) hill to their condo; they seemed glad to indulge me. As we walked, they told me about their lifetime in Knoxville, their son states away, their careers, their church, their health, their blindness. Somewhere along the way, Bud (we were introduced by now) stuck a couple of Jolly Ranchers into my hand and told me I sure was nice. I was really enjoying our visit by that time. Bud got his cane stuck in a road grate and almost fell head over tin cups while Edith was telling me, "I know we look pitiful, but we really are okay. He's 95, and I'm 90. I don't know why we're still here, but God must not be done with us!"

Several years ago we began a marriage ministry at our church. It was born out of concern for the suffering in the marriages around us, not just in our community, but in our church community, too. We established a quarterly night of encouragement, "One Night," an intensive small group getaway called "One Weekend," and a mentoring ministry called "One Partnership." It's helped, but the waves keep crashing around us. Walking along with Bud and Edith as we gingerly made our way down the hill, I had to ask how long they'd been married. Edith told me that they have been married 70 years. I told her we're about to celebrate our 19th anniversary. "Honey," she said, "it's not easy, but you hang in there no matter what."

The rest of the story? I wrote my number in HUGE symbols on the receipt in Bud's bag and told them to call me the next time they want to go for a walk. I did go exercise, and I had a lot to think about. And Friday night was another One Night. We had about 75 couples, and we spent the night laughing, being encouraged, and being reminded that we need to constantly rekindle the love and foundations of our sacred partnerships. "Hang in there no matter what," as Edith would say. I hope I won't be trying to keep Jeff from falling into the road when I'm 90, but I would love to follow in Edith's footsteps, to look back in my 90's and say I've been married 70 years. THAT would be something to blog about!

4 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi said...

What a great post! It's convicting to me to read that... I would love to say that I'd jump out of my car to help them, but I probably wouldn't have. thanks for the convicting kick in the pants and the marriage encouragement!

I'd love to hear more about how you do the "One Night" events - sounds like something we might want to talk about at our church...

Daniele said...

what a great story and marriage encouragement!

Maxine said...

Amen! What a nice story! Now that would be something to blog about! Believe it or not, I've just gotten around to visiting folks for last week's blog party, so I've been hopping around to meet new people. And it's even better because I've gotten to read some neat stories (and some sad ones). Love, love, love this story. Thanks for sharing it.

I'm going on 38 years and I'm a grandmom, but still homeschooling my sixteen year old.

Glad to happen upon someone else who loves the Lord.

Maxine said...

Oops. I meant 38 years of marriage. Not my age!