And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13
I came across this delightful entry in my grandmother’s journals. My grandparents were married for over 50 years and lived in a retirement home the latter part of their lives. The entry is not dated, but I’m guessing it was written on February 14, about 2000-2002.
A Time To Remember
Charlie is 96, a widower and seen a lot go by. However, he always has a kind word. It was late afternoon on Valentine’s Day and we were leaving for a walk. As we opened the door, the halls were quiet and we could hear someone in the lounge, playing the piano. We stopped to listen and we could see it was Charlie. He was playing “Tea for Two”, never missed a note. It was eerie but beautiful. Charlie went back to his room and, as he went inside, we imagined him saying,”That’s for you, babe.”
Love can be as difficult as it is beautiful. I imagine Charlie knew that better than anyone, still loving someone who was no longer with him.
Chronic illness and disease expose a love that reaches far beyond the roses-and- chocolate-kind. Although I do appreciate my heart-shaped Whitman’s sampler. Yum!
As I mentioned before, My grandmother had macular degeneration and my grandfather had Parkinson’s disease. Even though my grandmother couldn’t see, it was important to her to try to look her best. I used to paint her nails on occasion. I remember my grandfather telling her how beautiful she looked when she “got her nails done.” I also remember seeing my grandmother rub his back and feet when the stiffness from Parkinson’s began to set in. She researched breathing techniques that helped him relax and spent time assisting him with exercise.
Recently, it’s been my own experience that love is looking more like being carried up the stairs because my legs are just not strong enough. But think King Kong not Gone with the Wind! Or being told I still look beautiful when I walk even though I think I have “funky chicken legs.” (my kids love that one!)
My friends, while it is lovely to have others stand by us through chronic illness, there is no greater companion than Jesus. He understands suffering like none of us ever will and chose it so that ours will someday end. He suffered physically on the cross for us, yes, but he was also “despised and rejected.” (Isaiah 53:3) There were no kind words, no soothing touches, no comforts, no response from his own Father. (My God, My God why have you forsaken me? Matt.27:46) All this so we can have eternal life in Him. (John 3:16) This is this THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL!
In honor of my grandparents and Charlie, who understood a kind of enduring love that pushed through illness, disease, and even death, I’m adding a YouTube video of Doris Day singing Tea for Two, the song Charlie played to his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day many years ago.
If you’re following by email, you’ll need to go my website to listen. Enjoy! www.syrinxsoldier.com