A Valentine's Day Devotional: Love on Rails :-)

Hello Dear Friends,

I don't normally follow popular culture in the news, but reading musical reviews online brings more of that part of our culture into my view in sidebar links. One news item I saw recently was the untimely death of singer Whitney Houston at age 48; she probably succumbed to a worn out body due to substance abuse, similarly to other 'stars' like Judy Garland at 47, Elvis Presley at 42, Michael Jackson at 50, and many others. How sad these stories are, especially looking back at the perky smiles and more wholesome images they all seemed to start out with; they 'had it all' in terms of worldly success at relatively young ages, but they pressed themselves beyond their limits, they enlisted doctors who wrote prescriptions to boost their capacity, which ultimately ended up shortening their lifespans. They were probably trying to get all their satisfaction here in this life, and that is always a dry well; we all need the hope and future of something bigger than mortal life, to encourage us to remain in the 'school' that this life is; a preparation for what is to come.

As I was talking about this with Bernie this morning, he had an interesting observation to add to my thoughts. He said that probably a big part of the reason these people burned out was that they had lived their lives just for themselves, on a 'monorail' of sorts, in and out of marriages and relationships to meet their own needs and egos. In contrast, people in a stable marriage are like a train track with two rails connected into one track, providing inherent stability for the long haul. What an insightful thought! He also pointed out that growing old together involves being content with the aging earthly shell of the other, and not trading in the 'old model' for a newer shinier one as many of these famous stars did (probably as an attempt to try to recapture youth and fading beauty). This life is really only a vapor, a dot on the line of a long eternity. When we live our life on earth in light of eternity, it affects our choices made in the here and now, and enables us to persevere.

As Bernie and I have aged, I have wondered if it is maybe God's sense of humor as well as His grace that in the aging process, our vision blurs just about the time the wrinkles on our spouse become more noticeable. :) Bernie acts as if he doesn't even see mine, and still calls me beautiful; why does that make me tear up?? I am so grateful that the Lord brought us together, to be team for a lifetime; I am blessed. Bernie has lovingly embraced me as his partner in the aging process. His perspective has always been, till death do us part, for better for worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others . . .

Bernie often tells me he loves the sweetness of growing old together. Aging is not 'fun' or an exciting thing to think about. But Bernie has aged so gracefully, giving up his beloved basketball 10 years ago (which was a huge source of enjoyment and satisfaction for many years -- he was quite good!), after two knee injuries rendered his knees too unstable for sports. After one of the injuries, the doctor asked (looking at possible surgical repair), "What are your goals?" And Bernie said, "To grow old gracefully." And so he gracefully 'retired' from the court.

So in honor of St. Valentine's Day, Bernie and I wanted to commend and encourage those of you who have made a 'till death do us part' commitment, and kept it. :) May you be blessed with many more years together on the train track of life, and may your love for each other, through the years, provide a stabilizing anchor that keeps you 'on track!' And ultimately, may this love you have for each other, be a reflection of Christ and His Bride, the church, and may the 'glow' of that love draw others to embrace faith in Christ.

God bless you all,
Linda for the Bealls

~ Linda for the Bealls

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.
But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.
A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart."

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12