Witness the Possibilities
I was wondering when it was going to happen. Maybe I’m spending way too much time watching the evening news, but lately, I’ve found that I’m almost too bitter to actually write. There’s lots of topics out there that pique my interest, but the trouble is that most of them do little more than focus on the worst in people, and quite frankly that type of thing disgusts me so much that I don’t even know where to start.
Luckily, when I get into such moods, it usually only takes a phone call or e-mail to my brother to turn me around. A mere 10 months older than I am, my brother and I are very close. And no matter what my mood, talking to him always cheers me up. In this instance, all it took was a story of something that happened to him this past summer.
Rather than having me go to the effort of re-telling the tale, I’ll simply let him do the honors. Therefore, it’s my pleasure to share the following story as submitted by my brother D.R.
My wife and I recently celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It’s not been a completely blissful 14 years, which might hit home with a lot of people. But these last five or six years, our marriage has grown tremendously. We still have our difficulties, but that’s not why I’m writing. I wanted to share with you something I personally witnessed.
It was one of the most beautiful things, though it was not covered by any of our local news media. I guess I can understand why. But it was pretty cool and I thought you might appreciate it. Once a month I usher and greet at our church. Not a very difficult job; get to church about 30 minutes earlier than normal, find your name tag, put on a smile, warm up that hand shake and prepare for some small talk and friendly greetings. A couple of months ago, I was working the front door, when through the glass I could see a large sedan pull into the handicap spot right in front of the entrance. As people continued to enter, my attention was drawn back to the vehicle. An older gentleman (and I don’t use this term casually for a gentleman he was) took his time getting out of the car while his wife continued to sit in the front seat. It took him quite a while just to get his legs moved around and then to get standing. I wanted to go help him, but remained at my post of opening my door and shaking hands.
The gentleman went to the back of his car and opened his trunk. The trunk now blocked my view of him and all I could see was his wife still sitting patiently in the car. What seemed like an eternity went by and my curiosity was up. What was taking this gentleman so long back there in the trunk? I finally decided to leave my strategically-important post and go check things out. After all, I could have a situation here (like perhaps a couple of dozen fudge brownies to carry in for the coffee house).
I walked the thirty steps from the door to the back of the car where I saw the gentleman gradually, and with great effort, manipulating a wheelchair out of his trunk, inch by inch. “Let me help you with that,” I said quickly. I could have had that wheel chair out in no time. The gentleman just held out his hand and stopped my effort. “No, I’ve got it,” he said. I stood and watched as he used his body to its fullest, his hips, his arms, his hands, to coax that bulky wheelchair out of the trunk. Meanwhile, people were streaming into my entrance without so much as a “Good morning.”
I returned to my post and continued to watch as the man closed the trunk, set up the collapsible wheelchair, and then began the even more difficult task of getting his wife out of the car and into the chair. The entire effort probably took about 10 minutes, but to me, it seemed like a lifetime.
However, that entire time I could see the incredible love and devotion which that gentleman had for his wife, a wife that was old and frail, whose body was betraying her, a wife who could no longer do for herself. This man, this gentleman, this husband, was there and as long as his body would let him, would stay by her side and provide for her, care for her, and serve her. I did not need to hear him say it. I could see it.
I have no clue what the sermon was that Sunday, but I will always remember that scene. I hope I can be half the husband that this gentleman was to his wife. But more than that, I hope that this story can get out. Not this specific story, but the bigger story that marriage is wonderful and beautiful and is worth sacrificing for.
This stuff happens every day, more often than we would or possibly want to imagine. There are enough problems with the world and within the world of marriage, but instead of consistently focusing on the pessimistic, let’s promote the positive. Grab hold of those awesome beautiful moments! Most of what we hear is negative, like the high divorce rate or reports of domestic violence. We have so many images of what marriage is not, but we don’t elevate the positive examples around us every day. We see too many girls disregard their self-respect and their self-esteem in order to obtain inappropriate attention from guys. Guys who have no idea that real strength doesn’t come through being abusive and that tenderness doesn’t make you a sissy.
Too many have bought into a lie, a lie promoted by everything we see and hear around us about how we are supposed to look, act and feel in love and in marriage. For those that are not married, think about what you want your marriage to look like. For those that are, think about making the effort to transform and strengthen your marriage. For sure this is no easy thing, but be encouraged. It is possible. It takes work and sacrifice and many disappointments and heartaches (nothing new here), but it is possible. The generations that are coming up behind us will need strong examples. They will need to see a marriage that shows what it could be like. What it should be like. They will need to see the possible. Will you be that example?
…I couldn’t have said it better myself.