[September 6, 2007] Several weeks ago I wrote but never completed the following blog entry. Now that story has an ending. My heart is heavy today as I think of our friends and the first day they spend without their husband/father. Wes took Hannah back over to Idaho on Sunday morning so that she could continue helping our friends and she called a bit after midnight to share that the final chapter was complete. Today our friend, Bob, woke up in the presence of the Lord Jesus… in the presence of all the saints who’ve gone before and of the angels in Glory. This is a great comfort. Now… the family goes on without him. They loved him, were loyal and can trust the LORD for the days ahead. This, too, is a great comfort.
Whew… so all of that happened.
July 16, 2007 I know it’s been awhile. No, I wasn’t on a cruise or sunning at the beach or spending time at a spa… but, I must say that 107º in Lewiston was h-o-t as was the rest of the time we spent in Grangeville over the weekend. I so love the heat!! I’m finding the only heat I’m experiencing now, back home, is from hot-flashes! I suppose this will be some consolation that this coming winter will be more bearable knowing that I will not need to rely solely on standing in front of the woodstove to get toasty warm.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about. No, what I wanted to write about briefly today is: loyalty. Loyalty is a strange thing. In fact, perhaps one might never really know if it’s a priority or if loyalty is present until it’s tested. Sort of like a chair or a stool. You don’t really know if it’s strong until you step on it and let go of whatever else you choose for stability. You never really know how strong the coffee is until you taste it or you never get the full flavour of tea until you steep it in some boiling water. So… loyalty. Until you’re tested, you may not, in fact, be loyal at all. You might be dedicated for a day or so or a week or so, but years? Loyal for years? Gotta be tested.
My friend is loyal. I watch her — have watched her and will continue to watch her. I love that she’s faithful – she’s been faithful and I know I will watch her continue to be faithful. I’ve no reason to doubt it. But you know what I marvel about? Yes… she’s been utterly loyal. Never looking to be relieved of her “life” or “duties,” she’s tended to his *every* need. Loyal. She’s fed, bathed, clothed and tended to every single thing that concerns him – day after day, year after year – everything. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, I don’t think I could do what she’s done. I thought about it a great deal, and I’m really not so sure I could do what she’s done. I hope I would. I want to think I would. I’d want to be… but year after year after year after year…. I wonder. Would I have given up a long time ago? Would I press on faithful —loyal— to the end? So, you know, I’ve begun to pray to that end: that I would be found faithful —loyal— to the end, no matter what.
I’ve thought about faithfulness —loyalty— to the end. I promised my husband thirty years ago that I would be faithful — loyal— to the end. I’ve kept that promise. It was so easy to promise that thirty years ago. It was such a delight, such a wonderful thing to say, to think… to feel. It was easy bcz my resolve hadn’t actually been tested. It was easy bcz I was well, I was young, I was strong and idealistic — that, and I’ve noticed a tremendous resolve in many children of divorced parents to determine to *never* allow any circumstance to dictate or diminish loyalty. That was me then and it is me now. And my loyalty to my husband increases day by day, year by year. So why would I think my response to a devastating situation be anything less than loving loyalty?
We went to Idaho to visit our friends this past weekend. The family has been a tremendous blessing to us through the years. As the father of a large family continues to suffer the debilitating effects of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, we have grown increasingly concerned about the long term effect illness has on each one… thus, my references to my loyal friend — the wife of this man. None of them would seek recognition for the marvelous care they give and none seek sympathy for the situation they daily live with, nor for the tremendous responsibility they each one carry — especially our friend — his wife, mother of their children and his primary care-giver all these years.
Her resolve’s been tested. Her loyalty has been tested and has not been found lacking in the slightest. In fact, she stands as a model of excellence and is to be praised. She would not say so — she doesn’t seek any of that and actually deflects the heaps of praise she receives. I think that’s probably one of the things I admire most and have taken note to remember. When she hears the words of others, “I couldn’t do that…” she replies, “I couldn’t either, but the Lord can.” She has been by her husband’s side… been his total and complete helper for every single thing that concerns him. His illness has been progressing for at least 12 years now and completely debilitating for longer than half that time. And through it all, she has daily praised the LORD.
It struck me profoundly this past weekend that I thought I couldn’t do what she’s doing… but I do believe this: God can. The LORD can do anything, anything, anything. For nothing is impossible with Him. And so… I don’t really need to know how faithful I am or how loyal I am to my husband today. The thing I need to know –and I do seek– is that the LORD *is* faithful. *He* is loyal and *He* alone is my strength. And should I face a similar challenge… I, in faith, trust that He would carry me, too. I pray to be found faithful. I pray to be found loyal. To the end.