This being the week after Valentine’s Day, I have had a week to think about love. When most of us think about a love for the ages, we think about Romeo and Juliet or Helen of Troy 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 today? 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 franchise 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, Davey. 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 their 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 his diagnosis was Multiple Sclerosis.
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 Peg could not take care of him any longer. They then moved him into a care facility. That was several years ago. Occasionally, I would call Peg and ask her how Dave was doing. 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.
Dave passed last year after a short bout with pneumonia. Peg called me on Valentines Day to check in. She said that in a few days they would have celebrated their 59th Wedding Anniversary. Even though Dave is gone, she is going to bake a small cake and celebrate their Anniversary. He may have moved to a different location, but he will always be front and center in her heart.
After I got off the phone with her, I reflected on their love. A love that was 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.”