Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lessons of Love from Wrinkly hands.

In 2011, I got my certificate as a Nursing Assistant. I loved the spunky sweet personalities of the little old ladies, and quirky old men, and how they had stories that could draw you in for hours and leave you crying in the end.  There are countless times where my job was so hard that I couldn't handle it. I met so many individuals who had hearts of gold, that were going through unbelievably painful experiences. I watched as family members wold visit each day with a saddened, yet distantly hopeful look on their face. But the moments that changed my life, were the lessons I learned on love. Although old, weak, and frail, these people had been through many decades of life, and had a lot of wisdom that heaven knows I needed.

I remember as I watched as a sweet old man in his late 80's, sat at the bedside of his wife as her body slowly failed her. Two days before I had sat talking to her as she discussed the many callings she had in the LDS church, and how she had served as relief society president two different times, and how she was the Rodeo Queen when she was younger. We smiled, laughed, and cried a little. Today the scene was different. There was a spiritual, yet silent feeling that blanketed the room. I asked him how he was doing, and put my arm around him. He looked at me with a sorrowful long stare and said "If my sweetheart is not OK, it's hard for me to feel OK." Only a few days later, his darling wife's soul soon left her mortal body. And a little over a month later, he soon followed.

Another experience I remembered, was a Married couple that lived in the Nursing home together. They had pushed their beds together, and each night they slept side by side. One day in particular, I came in to bring the Woman in to take her shower. As i wheeled her out, her husband woke up, and quickly said, "Wait Miss!"

I stopped.
"My wife and I haven't said our morning prayer yet, could you please bring her back to me."

I wheeled her back in. Both of them, in there late 80's gently knelt on the side of their hospital bed and he began to pray. I waited around the corner and listened, as I bawled my eyes out.

I couldn't believe the beautiful faith of a strong, old love. In his prayer he thanked God for their health, and asked that he would lead them to help serve someone around them today. This sweet old couple, living in a nursing home, had all the reason to complain about their health, and excuse themselves from kneeling on the cold hospital ground to pray, but they knew what was important. After they finished their prayer, he kissed her and they said I love you. You could tell this was nothing out of the ordinary for them, this was just what they had always done.

Then there was my dear sweet Violet. She was a temple worker, and I worked with her in her home as she was recovering from a hip replacement. She had been a nurse for over 30 years, and had a husband who I like to think of as the gentle giant. He always would care for Violet when I wasn't there, and any of her simple requests were always met with a quite, "Yes Dear." One day I was sitting with Vi, and putting cream on her scar. We were talking about how I was getting married soon, and how excited I was. I asked her, "What is some advice you could give me as I start my new marriage?" She wrinkled her brow slightly, and a serious face came upon her. She said, "From the beginning of our marriage, I always made sure that I had a crisp, ironed white shirt ready for my husband, in case he was called to perform a Priesthood duty for church." Such a simple little thing, but such an example of honoring and respecting a Husband who is definitely a Man of God, with a strong Woman of God right next to him.

Last, but certainly not least, is the story of Elden and Alice. David's great Uncle and Aunt, who i swear could be angels. Last month, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. SEVENTY YEARS PEOPLE. He is 94 years old, and just a couple months ago retired as a temple worker. She is 91, and has the most spunky personality you could imagine. Neither of them look like they are in their 90's, nor do they act like it. But they are darling. We visited them last Sunday night, and stayed for over 2 hours. They told us the story of how they met, how they made sacrifices and weren't able to live together for 5 years due to his service in World War II. They told us how they lived in a tiny run down unfinished basement apartment for $16.00 a month, and how they only dated for 3 months before they got married.
Three Months.
This is like the story of David and I. We met in February 2012, and got married the last day in May 2012. Everyone thought we were crazy, and apparently a lot of people thought they were too. But there they were 70 years later, happy as can be, sitting in their recliners next to each other telling us about their 29 grandchildren, and over 45 great-grandchildren.
 Of course, I asked them my favorite question, "What is your best advice on marriage?" Alice chuckled, looked at Elden and said, "Just do your part." Elden nodded in agreement as Alice continued, "In all of our 70 years of marriage we haven't gotten in one argument.... well, we have disagreed on a few things here and there, but nothin nasty."
My jaw hit the floor.
How is that possible? I've been married for only 11 months, and I definitely can't say the same... But It's possible when you have two humble, unselfish people who do their part, and continually work.

Heaven help me as I have so much to learn about marriage. 

Marriage is the greatest blessing God has ever given me. Seriously the most fun I have had in my life has been in this past year with the love of my life. But I'll be the first to tell you that marriage is hard, and it is work. But happy be the day when we celebrate our 50th anniversary, or If we live long enough, 70 years.

Read any book you want to, Learn about love languages, watch Dr. Phil (Jk, don't).
But the best advice on Marriage you can get on this earth, in my opinion, is from the wisdom of those wrinkly hands that still hold tight to the one they have journeyed with for years, and years, and years.... and years.

70 Years. Not one fight.

That my friend, is real, deep, hard working love, with two souls who understand the importance of Marriage that is eternal, and forever holds the center of their lives, and love, with God.