This week, my friend Mary buried her husband Steve. From a back pew, I watched as she walked up the aisle, followed by her six children to sit in the front row. There were tears, but they held their heads high.
Steve didn’t have a lot of money, stuff, a fancy house or a fast car. Truly, he wasn’t spectacular by the world’s standards. But, he had everything.
His wife, my friend, loved him. She glowed as his friends and family spoke of Steve’s impact in their lives. There was a moment when she dropped her head as a slide show flashed pictures of their lives together – a young and handsome groom carrying his bride across a threshold, a glowing new mother and father holding a tiny infant. He loved her so much. What does it take to get a life like that?
I’m sure with six kids, job issues, moves, college, life was hard for Steve and Mary. My own life is similar to Mary’s in many ways. With so many marriages failing across the country, I have learned that it takes a commitment to something more than the other person to make a marriage work. For us, it takes a commitment to God. I promised God that I would love and honor my husband even when he is not lovable. It takes two people to do that. There is such pain when one person in the marriage refuses to keep their commitment. I’ve seen that pain and the following devastation in so many of my friend’s lives. I can’t make John love and cherish me. There are days when I am profoundly unlovable. John loves God more than he loves me and he trusts God to give him the strength and ability to love me. That commitment to God first, and then to me, overflows to our children. That’s a guy I want to love forever. I saw that in my friend, Mary. No regrets, Mary and Steve finished well.
Our friend Steve left his children with a precious gift – his unwavering love. He loved God faithfully to the end, despite a terrible, debilitating illness. They saw him live and die well, with love and thankfulness to God for his life. His sons are fine upright young men following their dad’s example and starting their own families. His beautiful daughters know their value. They watched their dad cherish their mother. He loved them well.
Steve didn’t choose to leave his family, as so many men do. Steve’s family will display his fingerprint of love and faith. They will miss him, but his legacy will last through their lifetimes.
In this picture, Steve and his daughter Anna are in the middle. My husband and daughter are directly to their left. Our girls were in 8th grade. They are twenty-four now. We called this event the Father/Daughter. I’ll write on that next time. For now, I am very thankful for what I have.