Wishing you all a very happy Valentine´s day! I would like to share a special experience that I had yesterday on the 14th of February.
Our day went really well and we were able to visit several families and teach many people during the day. As the day progressed more and more flowers, balloons and chocolates were seen in the hands of many people headed towards their homes and their loved ones. It was not too suprising that the last couple of appointments of the day were cancelled or were not there when we arrived. It was afterall, an evening to be spent with close family members and loved ones.
And so after a couple more failed attempts to find people in their homes, we were walking along the street wondering what to do with our last 30 or 40 minutes before we needed to head home for the night. As we passed by an apartment building, I remembered having visited an older couple that lived there several months ago and it was not until that moment that I remembered where they lived. Still unsure of exactly what building, floor, and door it was, I looked over and up, and sure enough, througth the window of the second story room I was able to make out a couple of distinctive figures that assured me that I was looking at the correct apartment. I commented my idea to my companion and we headed up the stairs.
We knocked on the door and heard a quiet voice answer telling us to wait as she looked for the keys and opened the door. After a little while the door finally opened and there was an older lady (in her mid to late 70s). She welcomed us into her small apartment room and I recognized the place from a very brief visit that we had had over 4 months ago. The small one bedroom apartment was stocked full of furniture all piled up into one corner, taking up almost all of the room. Other than those large articles, the rest was neat and tidy. Ramona, the older lady, asked us to sit down and we started to talk a little and see how she was doing. She immediately began to tell us about her husband and how he had been sick. She told us about their several trips to the hospital for various reasons. She told us his birthday was coming up and that he would be turning 89 soon.
We sat and listened as this tiny, frail, passionate lady told us all about the declining health of her husband and how it had been hard for him to lose some of his functioning. She told us that since he had lost all the strength in his legs and feet he can no longer walk to the restroom and has to use diapers instead that she carefully changes every time it is necessary. She told us how sometimes if she is not paying attention he will try to get up and go to the bathroom, how his feet and ankles cannot hold him and he falls to the ground. Last week, she said, she had to go outside and look frantically for anyone passing by to come and help her pick him up since she is so small and weak herself. (It was very incredibly moving to imagine that scene and the distress and worry of the dear little lady).
She spoke lovingly of how big and strong her husband had always been and pointed to a photo on the wall of when he was about 25 or 30. She said he had lost a lot of weight and was not very skinny. She laughed as she told us that his hearing is starting to fade and so sometimes she has to talk really loud. She said that the day before as she was talking to him he replied "you´re not my mom, you don´t have to yell at me".
When we asked what we could do to help she led us into the little bedroom where her husband was seated in his bed eating a little dinner she had prepared. Though now very old and weathered, he said hello and shook our hands. Ramona pointed to a little shelf nailed to the wall and told us how it was in the way and she was worried he would hit his head on it if he fell out of bed. She gave us a pair of plier and we ripped the nails out of the wall and took the shelf down. The both of them were very happy for the little adjustment made in the small room.
We talked for a little more, shared a thought, and sang a sweet hymn that spoke of the power of prayer. Ramona expressed her profound gratitude for our visit, but as we left both my companion and I knew who had been more impacted and blessed from those brief 30 minutes.
Though there were no roses, decorations, or candles, I very much doubt that there was a home in the city where a greater love was expressed on that humble Valentine´s day than in the home of Ramona.
I hope that you all had a sweet valentine´s day and that we remember the power and profundity of a true love. We were blessed to see someone in a very hard and difficult sitation, worn and tired with the years and experiences of life, left to care for and love someone in an even more difficult situation. I know that God loves us. And I know that God has also provided a way so that the bonds of love that we develop in this life with our spouse and family never end. Marriage and family can last forever.
I love you all,