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Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sixty nine years is a long time. Arlis liked to say he “swept her off her feet.” Their first meeting was at the gas station where he worked as an attendant, and he asked her to raise her feet while he used the whisk broom to sweep the floor board.
She was the daughter of a local minister, home on a college break and not necessarily the type for this 10th grade drop-out oil field worker, but something clicked, and that boy found his way to the church and a lifelong love of Thelma and the Lord.
The story of their meeting has been told for years; usually by Arlis with a smile on his face. According to him, he married the prettiest girl in East Texas. They started their life together during WWII and were married by her father one Sunday afternoon when Arlis’ departure for military service was imminent.
The eternal optimist, she never lost faith or gave up hope. She expected him to come back and anticipated that moment with great excitement even if it meant eating mayonnaise sandwiches and living in subpar surroundings. He was coming back, and they would live happily ever after.
As the minister said at my grandfather Arlis’ funeral this past Friday, “It’s not death that we fear but the journey.” Thankfully, his going was swift. Family members bid him farewell, and he faded away
It is difficult to live by faith and not feel a great loss and sadness as a loved one departs for death or war. Even with our “living hope,” how do we reconcile our grief and move toward celebration? Where do we find the strength to expect and the will to prepare?
During this Season of Advent, we expect, anticipate and prepare to celebrate what His coming means for us. Through our trust in the Lord we are able to maintain faith in dire situations, and we can find hope in every event no matter how grim. This ability is God’s gift for our greatest need, not simply wishful thinking but a true hope that gives us new perspectives on love, loss, and the eternal future.
May the peace of Christ be with you this Advent season.
Amie King is a wife, a mother, a grieving granddaughter, and a member of First Baptist Church.