Even in Our Brokenness…

August 23rd, 2015

2012Dear Friends,

In a matter of 10 minutes, I witnessed something this morning that can only be described as beautiful – one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen… and I need to share it with you.

Every week, I deliver the church bulletin to two ladies who cannot get out of their homes. One lives in a particular retirement center that I love. The structure is amazing. I love driving up to it. My son called it “the castle” for much of his life. (Now, “the castle” has a very different (almost negative) meaning… stifle your giggling, close friends and family.) The beauty of what I witnessed today far outshines the beauty of the building I was visiting.

This morning was gorgeous… sunny and a cool 58 degrees. I drove up to the retirement center, and parked in my usual spot. Close enough to get to the door quickly, far enough away to make it count – literally, on my Fitbit. I put my car in park and grabbed the bulletin.

As I got out of my car, I saw a man and woman walking along the sidewalk, slowly. At first, it seemed like every other old man and woman I see walking together on Sunday mornings. But this time, there was something different. He was dressed in a suit, she was in a nice purple blouse and typical old-woman pants. You know, the ones that can be literally any color, and as long as that same color is in their blouse, it works…

As they walked, I saw her moving much slower than him. Not in the way they walked, he was walking slowly to match her pace. But her every movement seemed delayed. It was quite apparent that some physical ailment had slowed her in her old age. What it was is not relevant. I said, “good morning!” as I do to any person I see outside the home when I am delivering the bulletin. He greeted me the same way. She said nothing, but her face was sincere. I continued into the building, and they continued walking.

When I came out of the building, I saw that they had stopped along the sidewalk. He was hugging her. She was only half-hugging him, but he held her so close to him, and was rubbing her back. It was a comforting type of hug. I didn’t stare (though I really wanted to, this was beautiful.) I walked back to my car, and just sat there… amazed at the love that was obvious between these two.

I watched them for a few more minutes from my car. They started walking again, and came to a bench just outside of the door to the center. He helped her sit down – it was apparent that she wasn’t able to do so on her own. Then he took off his suit jacket… I knew where this was going. It was much too chilly for him to be too warm. He wrapped it around her, and sat down next to her. One of his arms was wrapped around her, and he held her hand with his other hand. They sat there for just a few minutes, then walked in the door, holding hands. He was leading her, and she did the best she could to walk with her head up.

I thought of the life these two may have had together. The young love, the children, the fights, the ups, downs, joy and tears. I started to tear up, thinking of his service to her, taking care of her, even in this difficult time in their lives. Though her body was failing, he still loved her heart, her mind, her spirit. This is what real love looks like.

What I saw today brought to mind the Epistle reading this morning… It’s from Ephesians 5, often read at weddings, and joked about by men,  saying that the Bible says that wives are to submit to their husbands. They forget to read the rest… The reading is as follows:

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The man I observed today blessed his wife in the most beautiful way, by loving her even in her brokenness – as Christ loves the church. He loves us, even in our brokenness and inability to save ourselves. Loved ones, strive for this… you can find a way to bless those you love today.

Until next time… Be well.


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