Friday, February 25, 2011

What the Old Can Teach the Young

I had lunch this week with a 70-year-old missionary. It was a business meeting of sorts. He and his wife would like for me to edit their memoir, which tells of their forty years overseas.

As I poked at my salad, I asked questions like: How did you and your wife meet? How did you each come to the decision to spend your lives together in Asia?

And he told me this story:
My wife went to college to become a nurse. But 45 years ago, it was assumed, culturally, that a wife would follow her husband wherever he went. She never argued with me on this. She simply gave up her own dreams and followed me to Asia, where I felt called to serve.

Then one day she came home and told me that, while she was riding the bus with our small infant, a man from the local region walked up to her and spat in her face.

When she relayed this account to me, I thought for sure that she was going to tell me that she had had enough of this place, that she wanted a nice nursing job back home, and that she wanted to get on the first plane back to America.

Instead, she told me, “We have to stay here. These people need Jesus.”
This elderly missionary took off his glasses and wiped his eyes as he spoke of his wife’s compassion and sacrifice.

I’ve been thinking about their story all week. I’ve also been trying to picture my husband and myself as older folks. When I am 70 years old, I know that I will have plenty of stories to tell of my husband’s faithfulness to serve others even when they did not respond with kindness.

What stories will he tell of me?

I want to live my life in such a way that when I am wrinkled and gray, I will be filled with the same tenderness that I saw in this missionary, the same tenderness that comes from decades of service and sacrifice.

To God be all the glory.



Terry said...

I really liked the missionary wife's response to the people who mistreated her. It was a great example for me. Please let us know when the book is published. It looks like it will be one I would like to read.

Marsha Young said...

A wonderful story - and a living example of "be kind to one another."

A a very worthy goal - to live in such a way that we are creating those kinds of "stories" for others to share.

Sonja said...

Hi D.J.

I cam over from Marsha's blog, am I right in thinking she is your mom??

Anyway, this was a wonderful story to share, 2 people who gave their lives on the mission field to be of service to the Lord. My own dad was a minister and their lives hold me accountable every day. I was so blessed.

I am logging on as a follower and look forward to many more visits!


Pamela said...

A beautiful story. What a testament to the love of God. I echo your desire to live your life in service and sacrifice.


Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

oh, me too DJ! i want to have that kind of compassion and love for others.... enough to get 'me' out of the way.

Happily Ever After Again said...

lovely story. i hope that my husband would have nice stories about me to share too! ;)

D.J. Hughes said...

Terry: I agree. Her response to the unkind treatment she received humbles me.

M.Y.: A worthy goal indeed!

Sonya: Yes, I am Marsha's daughter. :) I'm so glad you clicked over. It's nice to "meet" you. I will look forward to reading your blog!

Pamela: I like how you phrased that. This missionary's wife responded in such a way that her actions were a testament to God's love! Amen.

Beth: That is my heart's desire too - that I would "get out of the way" and respond with compassion!

Happily: It's a vision we can aspire to together - that our lives will leave a legacy of tenderness and compassion to pass on. All for His glory!

A multi-dimensional life said...

D.J. this photo of the hands drew me in, as it made me think of my mother who is no longer here with me but home with the Lord. I instantly thought about how quickly life passes by and your message was such a beautiful reminder of just that, as well as a beautiful example of what godliness is. Like you, when that day arrives, I would like to be remembered for my faithfulness to God and the way I loved others through Him. I hope I never forget this! Thank you for your sweet comments on my post. I'm following along with you now too and look forward to many more visits with you. Thank you for your beautiful words! Blessings!

Warren Baldwin said...

Oh, I found the story I'm going to tell at church tonight. Thanks for sharing this ... and thanks to the missionary couple for living it. Let us know when the memoir is out. And what an honor that you get to edit it! wb