There is a Time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Neil and I would have been married 67 years on August 18th of this year. This took place in a little Baptist Church in Bracebridge. It was the magical hour of seven in the evening on a gloriously hot summer day. I was the ripe old age of seventeen but Neil was a mature twenty-five year old with a career in education well under way.
After a weeks honeymoon we spent our first year in Toronto in a three bedroom apartment we shared with Neil’s brother Don and his wife Naureen. Their first child Trevor was born during that year. Our time together in that large apartment, formed a solid bond of friendship, love, respect and caring for one another that has lasted to this day.
In fact – Don and Naureen were married one year before us and celebrated their 68th anniversary together last August 27th. What a milestone for them and what a blessing to still be together in the same home although on a different floor. Naureen is able to be with Don off and on during the day to help and to comfort him as he is nearing his time left on earth.
Our first September as man and wife began with Neil’s first year of a thirty-five year career in education starting in Bracebridge Muskoka and continued with the North York Board with him ending as a Superintendent of Schools. I began as a private Secretary at the Bank of Nova Scotia.
When I look back on the fifty-four years that Neil and I were together it boggles my mind all the happenings that occurred in our lives. I can’t believe all we packed into those ‘blink of an eye’ days gone by.
Don’s career led him to become Dean of Science at Waterloo University and Naureen began as a Nurse before becoming as I did – a full time homemaker – she of three terrific children – Trevor, Heather and Tracy and me with four children – Tim, Karen, Robert and Garth. All seemed to survive our many foibles as fledgling parents.
We shared Neil and Don’s upwards career advancements; the many health challenges each family faced over the years; the different homes we built or bought and places we lived; the camping years we shared with and without children which added so much fun, companionship and entertainment to our lives; the many different friendships we formed outside of our own brought great fulfillment to all of us through all the highs and lows of life as it ebbs and flows.
John McArthur is quoted as saying – “Love is not a feeling, but a determined act of will…” How true that is as we viewed our partners with the same mindset while working on our marriages. Sometimes one does not ‘feel’ love, but a determined will kept us all focused on our covenant made before God years before on our wedding days.
These past years have been hard ones for me personally with the loss of my husband and my daughter, but the words in Esther…“Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” keeps resonating in my mind. I trust Jesus knows why that was His purpose for me as He carried me through those difficult years. He has used me since then in ways that continue to bless and astound me, bringing me a life of peace and contentment with a deeper love and trust in Him.
Don and Naureen’s last years have been difficult ones for them as they adjusted to health issues that had them first sell their home and move to three different Seniors and Nursing homes in two different cities.
Thankfully, they have had the same help in adjusting to these times of change from their faithful loving children as their health problems deteriorated to this point – just as I receive from my family.
We have our memories of our past times together and even of the present which are very precious indeed to each of us. As we continue to love and care about each other, even though it may be from a distance, the Lord has placed us at a time such as this where we can still keep in touch through the electronic age we are privileged to live in today.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you were born into this very period of time to fulfill a purpose God has prepared for you to do? Throughout your daily lives are you relying on your own power to get through the hurdles of life, or are you turning to God for the help He offers so freely to everyone who calls upon Jesus name.
My daily prayer is that God will continue to use me for His purposes.
I want to influence this world towards Him just as Esther did by listening to, and acting upon, what God has prepared for me to accomplish.
For we were created for such a time as this!