This being the week of Valentine’s Day, it got me to thinking about love. When most of us think about a love for the ages, we think about Romeo and Juliet or Helen and Paris. Both tales envision star-crossed lovers, whose love ends in their own deaths or the deaths of hundreds of others. These couples’ stories, famous in literature, may or may not have been founded on real people. We look at them and think, now there is a love for the ages. But is it? Their love burned brightly, was short-lived and had tragic consequences.
There is another kind of love, though. After the heat of passion has cooled a bit, this love is based on commitment and understanding. Can we find that kind of love among people we know personally or people we see in the media? Indeed, it is hard to find in this selfish self-centered world.
When I think of that kind of love, a real love for the ages, I think of our friends, Peg and Dave. We first met them about thirty five years ago when they moved from California to our small town in Oregon to start a franchised business. We walked into their shop one day and ended up becoming life-long friends. Peg worked with Dave at the shop and I had the privilege of taking care of their son. Many Friday nights, we would get together, have dinner and laugh until our sides hurt.
The economy made a down-turn and they were unable to keep the shop. It was a great economic loss for them, but they continued to stay together as Dave looked for another job. They had to leave their friends and move to a bigger city where Dave found a job with a well-known corporation. When we traveled there, we were able to visit them and see how they were doing. About twenty years ago, Dave told us he had a numb feeling in his legs and that when he ran, he couldn’t feel the lower half of his body. These symptoms forced him to go to a doctor, go through a multitude of tests, and find out he had M.S.
Dave continued to work at his desk job until he was past retirement age, and when he was ready, he quit. Dave’s symptoms became worse and worse until eventually he moved into a care facility. That was several years ago. Occasionally, I would call Peg and ask her how Dave was. She always told me Dave was well, and that she would make the thirty mile round trip to visit him daily. She said Dave never complained, that he was kind to his attendants and always said “Thank you” when they helped him.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I called Peg to see how they were doing. She said Dave can no longer talk but he is just the same on the inside. He gives her a big smile every day she goes to see him, and she was taking him a piece of pie for Valentine’s Day.
After I got off the phone with her, I reflected on their love. A love that is filled with courage, compassion and commitment. I am in awe of that kind of love and I would call that truly “A Love For The Ages.”