By Bro. John L. Cash
I’ve always heard that when their children grow up, married couples either get divorced or fall in love again. The latter must have happened in my case because this part of my life with Susan seems to me to be very, very sweet.
Susan and I have always said that we hope that things work out for us like they did for Lloyd and Rose. Lloyd and Rose were members of our congregation. They were a married couple who stayed deeply in love for their entire lives. When they were in their 60’s they lived in a house together. When they were in their 70’s, they moved into an efficiency apartment at an assisted living facility.
Finally, when they were in their late 80’s they were patients in a nursing home, where they lived in hospital beds, side-by-side. Their bodies grew steadily weaker, but, as ever, their love for one another grew stronger.
Today their bodies share a headstone in the little cemetery across from our little country church, and their spirits are alive in the kingdom of God. In my way of thinking, you couldn’t ask for anything more than a life like that.
Susan and I have talked about the “Lloyd and Rose scenario” for many years, with a wish that this would be our destiny in life. But lately I’ve come to a realization. Sometimes it works out that way, but not always. And if it doesn’t work out that way, one of us will pass away before the other one. And then the other one will be alone.
I don’t say that to be morbid or dark. If you read the Bible, it’s not a morbid thought at all. It’s just a realistic description of life in the world in which we live. In some sense you can even call it “the will of God.” Even though it’s painful to think about, the sooner we think about it, the better. If you love Jesus, you’re going to live in the next life forever. But not in this life.
My realization of that fact doesn’t fill my life with dread. Instead, it fills my life with hope and the greatest joy. When I wake up in the morning, well, I realize that each day is limited time opportunity. Just like the infomercial says, if you’re gonna use this day, you’ve got to “act before midnight tonight” and “supplies WILL run out.”
And because of that, I’m trying to make each day a thing of joy and beauty — especially with Susan. And my children. And all the people that I love. I don’t always succeed making each day a glorious thing. But lately I’m having a lot more good days than bad ones.
In the scheme of things, this isn’t anything revolutionary or new.
I’m pretty sure we all learned a Psalm about this when we were children:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Lloyd and Rose just had the good sense to put it into practice.
Go thou and do likewise.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where we had a “snow day” with no snow this week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).