Today after church, Dennis and I took photos with two of our most favorite women from church, to show to our readers in Japan. Both women have supported us financially but also spiritually, and not just in preparation for our mission trip to Japan. It got me thinking about how old women have shaped my faith and identity in Christ and in the Christian community. I want to be like these women when I grow up.
Before marriage, I think I probably ignored these women. But curiously, Dennis seems to attract them. At the church in Santiago, Chile he was always surrounded by old ladies at tea parties. One old lady (quite old)told me that I was lucky to have such a good young man. I noticed the way that my husband works with the elderly, men and women. He truly has a gift for communicating with old people in a way that makes them seem fun and fascinating. His best customers at the bank were the elderly, because he listens to them and befriends them. He sees them as contemporaries, instead of talking to them as though they were children. And my husband has the greatest gift for getting old people to talk about how things used to be. I've seen it, even in how he interacts with my grandparents, and it is one of my favorite things about Dennis as a person.
Thus post-marriage, we have as a couple become authentically friends with older people in our church and specifically widows (although not exclusively, as I can remember him talking in Spanish with the old Spanish professor way before he even knew the professor's wife, who would soon be a widow.)
I have learned that you can be faithful for decades, and you can find new insights into God even after decades. I've learned that even when life sucks- even when you aren't working, or when your spouse dies, that you move on and you do learn to live again. I've learned that my identity is not in Dennis, because of death, so that it is so very important to find my identity in Christ. Then, I will have the assurance that death is only one stage. There may be a time when all I have is my faith.
I have learned that family is sacred, from these women, who bake and raise money and are there to help students. These women shape part of the story of my church community and also shape why we go to our church, why we feel like this church is home, why we keep going.
I am thankful for the living proof that life goes on, that things work out, and that whatever I am going through right now (cough*unemployed husband*cough*economic recession*cough, cough) are just patches or stitches in the big picture. I know that it sounds corny or sentimental, but it is true. God is good, indeed.