From the internet, here’s a captivating story told by an outpatient care nurse in a hospital:
It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided since I wasn’t busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On examining it I saw it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors and got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, but that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.
I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for quite a time – as she is a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.
As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
I had to hold back my tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm and thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.” END OF STORY.
Gee whiz! Me having goose bumps too reading this. Unavoidably, I’m reminded of the day when I and my wife exchanged vows to “love each other ‘til death do we part” almost 38 years ago (we’ll be celebrating our 38th year come May).
On the first night after our wedding, before lying on bed and even so excited for the gloriously romantic moment, I curtly invited my wife to pray with me the biblical prayer of Tobias and Sara (Tobit 8:10) on their wedding night: “Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.”
Mind you, I considered the prayer very significant as I very well knew that my “knot tying” with my wife would mean FOREVER, and better as well we thus prayed that we grow old together healthy, harmoniously, and happily!
Now rewind to our “I still know who she is” story. I’d like to put forward some veritable insights of what true love is, as demonstrated by the elderly gentleman in the story.
One, true love knows no bounds and is unconditional. The wife’s Alzheimer’s disease and not recognizing him did not deter the old gentleman’s enthusiasm from having daily breakfast with her.
Two, true love expects nothing in return. God loved us first – not that he loved us because we loved him. Similarly, in the story, his wife’s not recognizing him was not stumbling block for the old gentleman to continue loving – because, as he said, “I still know who she is.”
Three, true love conquers all, or to use the Latin maxim, “Amor omnia vincit.” This is beautifully expressed by 1 Corinthians 13:7 – “Love bears everything, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
From these profound snippets of what true love is, which obviously are easier said than done, I earnestly pray that even unto our old age and death – despite warts and all – I and my wife would remain truly in love, enduringly and eternally.
After all, as St. Teresa of Calcutta once said:
“At the end of life, we are going to be judged on the basis of how much we have loved.”