As I stood there, I watched the two men walk away down the path from the patio, pass the lilies, to the driveway. The older one being led by the younger one. I never had noticed that their heads were shaped similarly with the same balding spots on their respective crowns. The older one’s back bent with age and ache. The younger one’s back bent with concern and care.
They’ve walked many other paths before, some familiar and others new, some literal and others simply symbolic. At one time, the older man taught the younger one how to walk, then to run. As the younger man grew, the older man gently guided him and when asked, advised him and always helped him without shaming him.
For a long while, it would seem that their stride was side-by-side. There was mutual respect. There was shared camaraderie. There was a connected sense of humor. There was more in common than a shared first and last name. Yet, upon closer examination, the younger man still fell in step behind the older one.
Over the past several years, the older man slowly began to lose his ability to lead. Neither man complained. Neither man raised a defiant fist toward the heavens. Neither man lost patience with the other.
Their paths, now intertwined as intricately as they had been when both men were much younger men – now took them to doctor’s offices, Cracker Barrel’s, and long drives through Roots. Memories flowed endlessly as the rivers once flowed near the older man’s home-place.
But, the TVA built a couple of dams, moved many families and those rivers became two gigantic lakes. The older man’s more recent memories became harder to recall, so the younger man took the wheel as the older man shifted into the passenger seat.
The last time I saw the older man, the younger one actually, gently, placed him that passenger seat. The older man was too weak to get in on his own. Over the days that have passed since, I have watched that younger man continually exercise his faith to continue to gently place the older man not into a car, but into the capable, loving hands of our God.
The younger man couldn’t go any farther down the older man’s path with him. Every night for the last many nights, they each told the other he was loved. No words have gone unsaid and actions spoke even louder than words.
The older man’s path is certain and set. He will stand straight. He will be reunited with so many dear ones – his wife, his son, his sisters, his parents, his friends. He will be happy. He will work with his hands and see every project completed, nothing left undone. – He will see and be and stay with his Savior, whole and healthy and free.
The older man is also placing us in God’s hands, trusting the same One to continue to look after each of us as his path takes him down the road from our view. He will no longer need to pray for each of us as his faith is made complete, knowing with certainty the good God is working for every one of us.
The older man has loved me as a daughter. He has been oh so very proud of me, never asking me to change or meet any expectation. When I quoted the book of Ruth in my wedding vows, I had no idea how much “his people” would become “my people,” and how very privileged I would feel to have his last name.
Many things have been and will be said about the older man – that he is a gentleman, an educator, a jack-of-all-trades, a builder, a church leader and more. Those things are all true, and the most important of those things – the older man passed on to the younger man. The older man set the example, provided the model and set the bar high. In these last months, the older man got to experience the fruit of all that labor in the younger man.
The younger man is “my” man. Our daughters and I have had the best seats in the house as he has cared and sacrificed for the older man. We have seen in their sweet relationship how life and love is valued and defined by our Heavenly Father. It’s in the little things. It’s in the mundane things. It’s in the hard things. It’s in all the things.
Throughout the time we’ve been following this path, we’ve prayed for God’s timing and God’s provision and God’s peace. He has been faithful to the older man for over 91 years. He has been faithful to the younger man too. He has been faithful to me. He is faithful to us all even and especially now. And, He will continue to be faithful even and especially when and even after He reunites us all once again. (What a reunion that will be!)
A Good Day
Yesterday was a good day. Wally, the girls and I got out of Clarksville to spend the afternoon at our favorite mall in Nashville. We visited the ABLE store and ate at our favorite new-to-us pizza place, Nicky’s, in the Nations neighborhood. After a stop at local coffee shop, using the GPS on my phone […]
The Older Man and The Younger Man
As I stood there, I watched the two men walk away down the path from the patio, pass the lilies, to the driveway. The older one being led by the younger one. I never had noticed that their heads were shaped similarly with the same balding spots on their respective crowns. The older one’s back […]
Operation Do It (O.D.I.)
Tomorrow starts the third week of the girls’ summer break from school. Over the years we have developed some structure for the girls’ free mornings so they wouldn’t spend all day every day glued to some screen or begin begging us for something to “do” at 10 am each day. I am not sure which […]