This story sounds a bit like a movie script. Like something to altruistic, or too noble to actually be true.
Experience has taught me this, that we undo ourselves by impatience. Misfortunes have their life and their limits, their sickness and their health. ~Michel de Montaigne
I’m taking care of a 91 Year old Gentleman whom I love dearly. I’ve known him for a number of years and he’s the father of a very good friend of mine. Everything in his life is truly a miracle. When you get to be 91 years of age just living every day on your own is a miracle. He still lives at home, and well I felt heart strings pulling on me to spend time with him instead of having someone else take care of him, or him being shipped off to a nursing home.
Maybe there is some philosophical regrets about not being near my father before he died. I don’t honestly know. I know that this man is the father of my best friend and I view him as a father figure. I probably love him more than I loved my own father. He has had a lasting profound effect on all my social views, moral values, and it feels amazing to be apart of his life and legacy.
I knew the basics of his life. But there’s so much more to know about him that we’d never discussed. He was married for 63 years… I put him to bed the other night, and was cleaning up the dining room table when I stumbled upon a diary. It was the diary of his wife who passed away in May. She had lived a long hard life. But this diary revealed something I didn’t know. It revealed her inner spirit, her passion, her devotion.
When marriage and love had a far different meaning than it does today. He was born in 1918, he served in the Navy during World War 2, and came home to marry the love of his life. But the love of his life was suffering from tuberculosis. In an age of death and suffering, he managed to find the love of his life. He overcame hardship and his girlfriend, later his wife would move west to a TB Sanatorium the first of its kind here in Colorado to fight her disease. For seven long years she would suffer laying in bed held captive by a disease that did not have a known cure. He was there by her side.
And yet he did not waver in his love. He took up a job on the TB Sanatorium grounds taking care of the dairy herd. He was not certain of his future, nor of hers. Her health and her spirit were not always in the best of shape. Yet the two of them remained devoted to one another. Finally they were married. His wife laying in her bed at the Sanatorium, and he standing next to her.
The vows were the same as anyone else’s but the meaning obviously was something more devout and more sacred than any marriage I’ve ever seen. 63 years later, he would stand by her side as she passed away in the same building that they were married in, the same building where she lay in bed for 7 years of her young life. The Sanatorium had been transformed into a hospital and changed hands a few times. But this marriage had outlasted it all. True love had outlasted all the changes that our world brings us.
63 Years of Commitment. A commitment to love like nothing we see in our modern society today, where marriage is disposable, and no one has the type of devotion and faithfulness needed to overcome adversity.
This man is a testament to what it means to be patient, to overcome hardship, and to live fully every single day. If anything I’ve learned in life it’s this if it’s worth having it’s worth waiting for.
This story has real world application for me. A few years ago I was insanely successful and I chose the wrong woman, the wrong path. And I watched a six figure income dwindle away, and I wish I’d made the right relational choices in life. Maybe if I’d paid more attention I’d realize that true love comes from within, and happiness is what we make of it.
I’ve seen too many friends, partners, and associates throw away their marriage because it wasn’t working. Some had the right woman and didn’t have the patience to find a solution. Others like myself were never compatible in the first place. I was looking to fill one void in my life with a bad solution.
The moral of this story is this, Chose your life partners wisely, be passionate about learning to love like it’s life and death. When hardship arises be prepared to give up your entire life for the good of the other person. Do not rely on another person for your happiness but allow your relationship to be blessed in happiness that arises from the inner parts of your soul.
True love is not found in another person, it’s found in ourselves and our devotion and patience to one another.