Thursday, June 18, 2009

Taking Vows - Seriously

Since the kids are at youth camp this week, it seemed like a good opportunity to spend some days with my MIL in Houston. Provide her with some companionship, help her out with some odds and ends, visit my FIL in the Alzheimer's facility.

Use her washer and bring all my clothes home clean!

Anyway, we've had a great time together and it's been restful and refreshing. And eating out every night has been a Treat with a capital T.

But the best part, and the thing that never fails to touch me and teach me, is when we go see my FIL.

Since I last visited, our house has had whirlwinds of activity, with school and homework and concerts and piano lessons and viola lessons and ladies retreats and Bible Study and youth group and 8th grade graduation and summer beginning and hail storms and car repairs and so forth and so on etc.

And yet, at the Alzheimer's facility, things are basically the same as last month and three months ago and 6 months before that. Every day (unless she's sick), my MIL makes the almost 30-minute drive to be there when he wakes from his afternoon nap. She sits with him, then feeds him his dinner and stays until the aide has put him to bed about 45 minutes after dinner and he's asleep.

The wife of the man who shares Dad's room does the same thing.

Every. Single. Day.

I can't speak for the other man's wife but I know why Mom does it. Not because she has to. Not for show or accolades. Not because she thinks this will earn her a ticket to heaven. Not because Dad would always even know whether she was there.

And certainly not because it's easy or convenient or restful.

But because 57 years ago this summer she did something which few seem to grasp the meaning of anymore. She made a vow.

For better or worse.

In sickness and in health.

To love and to cherish.

Til death do us part.

It reminds me of this story. There are many versions with subtle variations; this one is from Crosswalk.

For several months sweet old Mr. Sam went to the Nursing Home each morning at 9:00. One stormy day the nurse who cared for his wife, wondered if he would come out in this awful weather. But he arrived exactly at the same time ready for his special visit. Nurse Susan commented on his faithfulness to his wife who did not even recognize him anymore. Mr. Sam smiled and replied, "She may not know who I am, but I know who she is."

With those words of love, he entered the same room, and sat in the same chair and took the same cherished and wrinkled hand he had held for almost 60 years.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:13)


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Chatty Kelly said...

This reminds me exactly of my inlaws. It's a wonderful thing.

sara said...

I love that story. You are right, marriage has become as "throw away" as paper towel these days. So wonderful to see examples like this!!

Glad you had such a great time with your MIL!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt post Linda! Really makes you remember what you vowed and what it means to stick with it.

TCKK said...

Great post Linda! My parents have been together for 59 years! I love these great examples set for us and pray I will do the same with my hubby!! 20 so far and still going strong!

Suzanne said...

Love that post, Linda. You know what impresses me...eating a meal in a dementia ward is an extremely difficult thing. When I've eaten with my dad at his facility, other patients scream or stick their chicken drumsticks in milk, or fall asleep and drool or...well, you catch my drift. My point is that...your dear MIL does it every, single day. What an example to others she is. Including me, way out in California. Warmly, Suzanne

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I'm going to have to stop reading your blog if you don't stop making me cry.


Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

BRAVO! It makes me so sad when I see how disposable todays society views the vows taken at a marriage ceremony. The meaning of the convent we enter into when we marry is so sacred and not to be taken lightly.

Great post!

Wanda said...


I love it! For better or sickness or in health.
Til death do us part!

I wish every couple really meant that.
My heart is touched! Thank you!

Preachers said...

This made me cry!

Luke and I talked about this just the other day. I think as ppl get older we forget that in their minds, they are still that young couple that fell in love all those years ago. I can not even fathom Luke lying in a room and not knowing me or my leaving him there alone because he didn't. Nope, it's going to take more than that to get rid of me. lol Your in laws are such a beautiful picture of what love really looks like.

Anonymous said...

oops...last comment was me. this site switching has messed me up. :)

Latte With Me said...

Amen on the vows not being taken seriously (says the woman who has been married 3 times). Where is the commitment? When you don't "feel it" anymore, then stick around and try to feel it. Don't just pack it up and walk away. Shew. Frustrates me.

Your mother in law is a precious example of love and commitment. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Glad you enjoyed your time with hubs. My girls were gone to camp in FL for the week, but James was in the field, so I had NO ONE to talk to!! Luckily, I had bible study Wednesday night and was able to share my chatty with people!