“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” ~ I John 4:18a (NKJV)
I remember how it used to feel
Riding down old two mile hill
Tennis shoes up on the handle bars
Paying no mind to the passing cars
No doubts, no fears, just like when you are here
No chains, no strings, no fences, no wall
No net, just you to catch me when I fall
Look heart, no hands.
Look Heart, No Hands ~ Recorded by Randy Travis
Last week I received another poignant email from my high school friend, Scott Carson, who has such a way with words. After reading my column about Mark & Melissa’s wedding, he wrote:
“It's great to hear (and see) about other people's families as they go through those most significant of life's passages. While the principles in such events are, usually, having the time of their lives and thinking they will never have a day as significant as this, it is more fun, I think, for the "old folks" at such events. Why? Because they (...errr...WE) get to witness and share the joy, AND know that even brighter and more exciting days are ahead. I can still see the wonder-filled face of my little nephew as he watched a bird's nest outside his window as the eggs began to move, to crack, and finally to yield tiny little birds. I supposed if he'd thought about it at the time he would have thought that sight was the most remarkable he would ever see. Now I get to watch him hold his newborn son, and play with his two year old. My nephew probably doesn't remember that day he watched with total awe as the little birds hatched. Sure, he's someone's dad now; he's 30 and taller than me, but I remember the day the eggs hatched. It's an interesting concept to think that as life unfolds for those we love, we get to watch them experience it, almost like God watches us with a wry grin because He knows that today's little miracle will give way to future wonders we cannot at this moment imagine.”
All this talk about weddings inspired me to reflect on the miracle of love God has allowed Keen and me to share. On June 9, the day before our 27th anniversary, I boarded a plane to Ohio to attend my daughter-in-law’s graduation from nursing school. The next day I received a message from Keen telling me that he missed me. Although he probably wouldn’t have remembered our anniversary without a reminder from me, I told my kids that it was the best gift I could ever receive for my husband of 27 years to say that he missed me after only one day!
Back in 2000 when Keen was attending Kansas State University, he would spend several nights a week at our house in Manhattan to allow more time for studying. In August of that year I sent him an email containing this short quote:
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
Keen wrote back and said: “Winnie the Pooh, being the deep-thinking philosopher that he is, captured the sentiments of my heart, too! Never more than two consecutive minutes pass that I'm not painfully aware that we're apart. I miss you tonight. I'll be home tomorrow. Love, Keen”
I thanked Keen for his note and told him that I felt so secure knowing that he was always thinking of me, even when he was in school or staying in Manhattan. He replied: “When you walk around with a hole in your heart, you never forget it’s there.”
More recently, Keen left a couple of touching messages on my cell phone. This morning I listened to them several times so that I could accurately record what he said and share it with you.
This first excerpt was left on my answering machine about two weeks ago:
“Hi hon, it’s Tuesday morning about 5:15 and I just left. I just wanted to call and tell you how much I love you and how much you mean to me and how great a person you are. Sometimes I just marvel that I am so privileged to be married to you. You know, we are such a good team and it’s just a wonderful blessing every day to wake up with you. Thank you so much for loving me. I love you. Have a great day. Your day is blessed. My day is blessed. I feel blessed already. I’m just so in love with you. Thank you so much. I love you. Bye-bye.”
“ . . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12b
Keen left this next message on July 1st :
“Hi hon, it’s me. It’s Friday morning, I just left the house a little after 4:30. I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate you being there and making my lunch and being up so we can see each other a little bit in the morning before I left. I know it’s a hard time, but we’re gonna get through it. A three-fold cord is not easily broken.
I just want you to know that you’re my greatest love, my greatest helpmate, my greatest friend. I want you to have a great day. I’m gonna have a great day. Our day is blessed. We’re just gonna take this day by storm and we’re gonna see the salvation of God in our lives!
Anyway, I just wanted to call and leave you a message. You have a great day. I love you. Bye-bye.”
“Look at my life, I’m floating like mercury around the earth. My footprints shine with stardust. All because I love you. All because you love me.”
~ Maya Angelou
In closing, I would like to thank you, my friends, for giving me the privilege of sharing my life with all of you. I can’t explain this need I have to take the thoughts and feelings of my heart and put them down on paper for all to read. July 3rd marked two years since I started writing my Reflections. In fact, this week’s column is number 100. But I couldn’t have done it without Joann Kahnt’s generosity and willingness to give me space in The Prairie Post each week. Although she’s probably tired of hearing me say it, once again, Joann, I thank you.
Sometimes I wonder how long I can or will keep this weekly column up. But as I look in my “Reflections in Progress” folder on my computer, I see that I still have many, many more topics left to write about. So, as long as the Lord and Joann Kahnt are willing, I will be writing and sharing for some time yet to come.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”
~ Philippians 1:3 (NKJV)
Keen & Eileen Then (age 16) and Now (25th anniversary, 2003)