They had been married for over sixty years when I first met them. They were amazing, funny, full of life and very much in love. I had once asked them what the secret to their marriage was. He looked at me and said, “She needed me, and besides that, she can cook really well!” He went on to tell me that she wasn’t half bad at keeping the yard and the house clean. As he spoke, I couldn’t help but notice that she never let go of his hand, and she never stopped gazing at him and smiling.
Their love for each other was genuine. I remember she gave him a punch in the arm when he said, “It just made sense to keep her around – you don’t come across a gal like her very often… Oh, and she kisses really well!” I loved visiting this couple. I loved listening to the story of their life together.
I remember the day of his funeral. I remember how lost she looked. She asked me that day, her eyes filled with tears, “Sammy, who’s going to hold my hand now?” Struggling to hold back my own tears, I told her, “I know it’s not the same, but may I hold your hand.” She smiled a bit and said, “I would like that, I would like that very much.” They had been holding hands for a lifetime but now he was gone, and she seemed so lost. I was to visit her for the next several months, almost every day holding her hand, and listening to the stories of her life with the man whom she knew loved her deeply. “He wasn’t perfect,” she said, “but his love for me was more than I could have ever dreamed of.”
It was almost four months to the day when she passed away. She left a note for me that read, “My Dear Sammy, thank you for holding my hand…” I’m not really sure why I’m sharing this story with you today. I just feel a deep burden for those who have no one to hold their hand. It must be very lonely to have no one holding your hand, or hear your story and share your struggles.
But, as I’m writing now, I sense the Spirit of God, telling me that it is the Church that must hold their hand and listen to their stories.It is not the role of the Church to decide whose hand is worth holding and whose story is worth hearing.
May God give the Church the courage to hold the hands and listen to the stories of those who are lost and lonely. May God empower His Church to be as Christ in the World! May we endeavor to be a part of that Church – WHERE LOVING GOD AND LOVING PEOPLE IS A WAY OF LIFE!