Today I am thinking about couples and remembering that I was a couple for a few short months.
I used to watch couples. I saw them after church talking together deciding where they would go to eat or offering an invitation for Friday night. I saw them in restaurants sitting together. I watched them, as they walked down the street holding hands. I listened to couples, in whose home I was a guest, as they talked quietly after retiring or first thing in the morning. I never knew what they talked about, but I imagined they were planning their day or discussing their children or talking about bills. It didn’t matter what. It just seemed so sweet and intimate.
Even when I was totally contented with my life, I always thought it would be wonderful to be a couple – to be part of that intimate, sharing relationship – to be the most important person in the world to someone.
Yes, even when life is good, I believe there is a certain undefined, perhaps seldom acknowledged loneliness that nibbles away at the edges of one’s existence surfacing occasionally bringing just a bit of sadness. Then it is buried again under the busyness of life.
After seventy-seven years, I was ushered into that magical world. I remember the first time I was truly aware of this important transition. Cecil and I went to a Luau, when we were on our honeymoon. We were in the middle of hundreds of couples and we were part of them.
No one said, “Oh, look! Fayrene is a couple now.” I was the only one feeling as I did. Cecil wasn’t even aware of it. After all, he had been a couple for fifty-seven years. He was used to it, but not I. I was so enamored of the whole thing.
When an old acquaintance of mine met Cecil and discovered that we were engaged, she said, “We need to get together. We need each other.”
I couldn’t help but think that in more than thirty years of acquaintance we had never “needed” to get together before. But I didn’t hold it against her. I was actually thrilled and more than anxious to “get together.” And we did.
At the end of that fun evening, my friend said, “I am kicking myself wondering why I didn’t really get to know you all those years ago.” I wondered too.
After Cecil died I wondered about a lot of things. What happens when you are no longer a couple? During my husband’s illness, the phone rang off the hook. I remember thinking that I hated Alexander Graham Bell. Couples came bringing food and encouragement and stayed to visit and pray.
Then the phone stopped ringing and the people stopped coming. I was no longer a couple, but I liked being part of that scene. Do other couples know that? And, of course, I wondered whether or not my longtime acquaintance, my new friend, would still “need” to get together.
I am a widow now, something I never wanted to be, something I never planned to be.
However, though it was not my plan, it must certainly be part of God’s plan for my life. So, I am single again. Before Cecil appeared, I was an expert at being single. I could go most places and do most things on my own, without fear. But, I am no longer the same single woman I was.
Something has changed. I do what I need to do, what I am expected to do, but somehow my self-confidence has suffered. I’m not sure where I belong. Going alone to social events is difficult. Recently, at a church dinner, I asked a woman, if could sit at her table.
“Oh, no,” she said. “There are only couples at this table.”
“I used to belong there,” I thought.
I feel a little hesitant in writing this blog. However, I have been made super aware of the many lonely people among us.
1 Peter 4: 8 – 11, (The Message) “Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless – cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words let it be God’s word; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything – encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
Let’s not leave anyone out. Let’s spread the sunshine, “God’s bright presence.”