Today I observed an older gentleman get the news of the seriousness of his wife’s illness. You could just see the pain in his eyes as he asked questions. Is she ever going to be the same? Will she be able to come home? And proceeded to say, if she has to go into a nursing home, I have to go too. I can’t live without my love. And I can’t care for myself because she always has for me. He asks more questions and the answers are sobering. He sleeps on a cot in the room because he can’t leave her side. It is like the real-life “Notebook” He returns to the room, takes his wife’s hand, and it breaks my heart. Tears trickle down from the corner of my eye. He was devoted…
I watched a similar story in my own life with my mom and dad. My mom was diagnosed with M.S. and struggled for years walking and then proceeded to a cane, then 2 canes, then a walker, then a wheelchair. From being an involved wife and mother, a pianist at the church, a volunteer and cafeteria fill-in person at school — to a dependent wife and mother in a wheelchair. But this never stopped her wake-up calls to her children (even after they were older and married and out of the house) or doing as much as she could for as long as she could. But we watched her fail in health over the years. I watched as my dad took care of her, the house, the cooking, the laundry and kept working at his job and delivering newspapers (one of my mom’s ideas to make more money for medical cost). But he took care of her and never left her side till the day she died. He never walked out, he never put her in a nursing home, he never cheated, he loved her… (and not only did he take care of mom, he helped do things for Grandma Frazee)…. My hero!
When I started dating Jim almost 25 years ago, I can still remember one of our first conversations – I wasn’t getting involved with someone without know where I stood. I proceeded to inform him that I would always live in the mountains and that I would get my college degree in nursing before getting married because I wanted my maiden name on it I explained I wanted my maiden name on the diploma so that if something ever happened to who I married I would know I could take care of myself. I wanted a husband to be there because I wanted him there – not because I needed him there. Well over the years we have been through much – me devoting a lot of time to my mom and grandma, a back injury within months of our wedding placing me on bed rest on/off for almost a year, helping raise 2 nephews when their mom walked in/out, a miscarriage, years of infertility, two high-risk pregnancies/births (one almost ending my life and Sam’s), double vision/vertigo for over 6 weeks, and the list could go on… Never leaving when the going got tough, promising me to stay no matter what… My hero!
I have watched * friendships dissolve over trivial things, gossip, or broken promises * parents turn their back on their children (although sometimes justified – the prayers should continue) * people placing loved ones in a nursing home because it would interfere with their life (and never even come to visit) * siblings stop speaking over material things * cheating within relationships / marriages * children being abused and no one stops it, and the list goes on. I am a firm believer that when you are in a relationship whether created by family, marriage, work, or friendship – PREPARE TO BE DEVOTED!!!
I also know of some incredible people, who did not have examples of devotion. But, I have watched them OVERCOME and BECOME DEVOTED to
– being an AWESOME parent to their children DESPITE the abuse, neglect or the lack of an example in their childhood
– keeping their children SAFE / PROTECTED and minimize the involvement of the children in the divorce (keep them from being used as weapons / pawns)
– saving the marriage because they still love their spouse and children DESPITE the unfaithfulness
I was given perfect example of devotion – I have no excuse! They have overcome betrayal to be DEVOTED — they are MY HEROS!!!
I have watched other awesome people, who stepped up to the plate, when walking away would have been an easier choice. For instance
– Volunteer firefighters who leave their families and risk their lives to save someone/something (a little biased)
– Military men / women who devote their lives for OUR freedom!
– Grandparents who raise their grandchildren to give them a chance at a good life
– Parents who help their children through drug/alcohol/psychiatric rehab
– Foster parent / adoptive parents who take in children despite the needs and red tape
They are MY HEROS!!!
One area that I continue to work on is devotion to Christ – definately the most important devotion! Does He come first? Do I listen for His will? (“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25) Am I devoted to denying myself? Am I devoted to taking up his cross? Am I devoted to following him? Definitely much room of improvement needed there.
At the end of this life, if I were to have one word carved on my tombstone – it would be DEVOTED!
Lord, may I be considered a devoted Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and worker. I pray that I too can be an example to those lives I touch. Walking out is the easy road to take, may they know I will be the one still standing right behind them!