Twilight Love

20 Jul

photoO God, you have taught me ever since I was young, and I still talk about the miracles you have done. . .Let me live to tell the people of this age what your strength has accomplished, to tell about your power to all who will come (Psalm 71:17–18b GW).

This verse reminds me of Janie. She’s radiant when she speaks of her latest miracle and what God’s power accomplished. Janie turned 75 and married Robert the next day.

Janie and Robert share a history. Robert and Darrell were university buddies, both majored in math and physics. Janie and Darrell married in 1957; Robert and Shirley married in 1958.

The foursome remained friends after college and both men became teachers. After Robert moved to Amarillo, he persuaded Darrell to do the same. When Robert left teaching, he and Shirley lived in many different places including Puerto Rico and Geneva. Darrell and Janie visited in every new location. Sadly, Shirley developed Lupus.

Though the years, the two couples continued to share special times—weddings, cookouts, camping, and more. Robert visited Darrell and Janie after Shirley’s passing in 2004 and called often. When Alzheimer’s ended Darrell’s long goodbye, Robert was a pallbearer.

Shared joy; shared grief.

Janie and Robert had very little contact until 2011 when the extended phone conversations began. During one of these frequent calls, Janie mentioned she’d never flown by herself but was going to fly to Oregon for her second great-grandson’s baptism. Robert immediately said, “I’ll escort you to Oregon.” This was characteristic of Robert who regularly helped friends and strangers alike. Surprised and grateful, Janie accepted his generous offer.

They enjoyed the time together as good friends, never running out of conversational material. Robert made himself useful as they helped prepare for a birthday party. He played with and spoiled both precious little boys. No grandfather could have been more loving and attentive or fitted into the family any better.

They returned home as good friends, but imperceptibly Janie’s feelings for Robert altered during that trip. The long conversations continued and Robert came to visit in January 2013. Three enormous obstacles marred their realization that they cared deeply for each other. Almost five hundred miles separated them. They both had homes, family, friends, and a comfortable lifestyle. Then there was the age thing.

After the phone calls began, Janie’s son told her Robert would “come knocking at her door.” Janie assured him Robert wouldn’t knock and neither would ever move. It was impossible.

However, Janie began saying, “I have a fella.”

The long calls continued. Inevitably, they discussed marriage and found limited pros and abundant cons. Robert persuaded Janie that significance mattered more than quantity; she was delighted to see it his way.

“It just occurred to me,” Janie said, “we’re planning a wedding and we’ve never had a date.” Say no more. Robert drove to Amarillo, asked for a date, and Janie accepted.

I attended Janie’s lingerie shower; a bunch of twenty–year olds couldn’t have giggled more. No bride-to-be could have been more radiant. That glow accompanied Janie down the aisle June 29, 2013 as two families became one.

Robert had the wedding band engraved, “Twilight love is a blessing.” Janie and Robert have lived to tell this generation and the next that God removes all barriers, including distance, circumstances, and age.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT).

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