Sixty years is a long time to share life. A lot of time to build memories and recognize dreams.
Few couples reach this milestone, but that’s exactly how long Harold and Grace have been married. Their celebration coming right in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Such a beautiful remembrance amid a time of great sorrow and pain.
But that was Harold and Grace’s life, a love shared during times of great challenge. Harold served in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict. Grace was an elementary school teacher and both lived in a world of racial unrest and discrimination. They rose above the limitations of that day and created a life filled with memories – the birth of their girls, their weddings, the birth of grandchildren, and vacation experiences that brought insight about the world around them.
When asked what kept their marriage strong, Harold responded,
I did whatever Grace told me to do.
Harold is a strong 90+-year-old. He drives, walks several miles a week, and continues to be involved in his church, the lives of his grandchildren, and his veterans’ group.
Grace is a feisty chocolate-loving-80-something. She loves to craft and can often be seen following her man as he logs his miles. She is the cornerstone of the family, gently influencing her daughters and fussing over the lights of her life – her grandchildren.
There had been a discussion of a trip for this milestone anniversary. But the pandemic was threatening to derail any plans for a celebration.
Their oldest daughter stepped in. She was not going to allow a virus to isolate her parents during one of the most important days in their lives.
Thankfully, virtual meeting technology saved the day!
From around the Northwest and across the street, we gathered to honor Harold and Grace and recognize their special day. A slide presentation filled with family memories graced the screen. Their wedding stories meticulously shared. Reflections of their first home and the construction of their current home all laid out like it happened just yesterday. And every facial expression, every teary eye was shared, live-streamed on the screen.
The virus required us to be distant, separated for our safety, but we were not isolated. We shared life, we exchanged laughs, we felt loved – we were physically apart yet together.
We are learning through this season of social distancing and self-quarantine, that there is a significant difference between distance and isolation.
Space and time can keep us apart, distance us from one another, but it does not hinder our ability to form relationships, to share our hearts, our thoughts, and our lives.
Seclusion, protection, loneliness are all synonyms for isolation. These words paint a picture of the outcome when we stand-alone. No one to speak truth into our lives, share our victories or dispel the lies. No one to hold on to when life gets tough, just separated, and alone.
Proverbs 18:1 tells us,
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
God created us, from the very start, to be in communion with Him and one another.
So, as we continue to create safe spaces to fight this invisible enemy, don’t let Satan’s lies keep you isolated. Remember to,
- Reach out to loved ones, neighbors, friends (through technology, a note, a wave, and a smile)
- Spend time with God, reading His word and reflecting on His goodness
- Consider small acts of kindness (a chalk message of encouragement scribbled on the sidewalk or notes of “We Can Do This” attached to your neighbors’ doors)
And if you start feeling like the four walls of your world are going to completely close in, take a deep breath and be assured,
You are not alone.
Distance is not isolation.
God is with you.
(38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
Blessings His BeLOVED,