Never have I witnessed a more demonstrative, physical display of affection in public. It was so obvious that I found it distracting. Often I was almost oblivious to the wonderful musical performance taking place on stage.
I usually release a weekly post on The Front Porch Swing, but the display of affection has resulted in this “bonus” blog today.
He, the infatuated man, proudly escorted his loved one to their seat with a broad smile as if they were the only persons in the packed auditorium (sanctuary in this venue) of First Assembly of God Church in Fortmyers, Florida. He made certain his lover was comfortable before standing behind and in front of her combing her hair that had been disheveled by the brisk wind outside. He bowed low before her hugging her and kissing her with same proud smile on his face. She had his complete, undivided attention as they waited for the concert to begin.
Throughout the concert he seldom turned his eyes away from her. He would lean into her, holding her face between his hands, while singing the lyrics of the song being performed by The Martins, a Christian musical group. If the audience was invited to stand for a particular song, he would step in front of his lover and grab her body in full, frontal embrace while singing enthusiastically to her.
Sadly, it often seemed his lover was almost oblivious to his attention. Occasionally she would look at him and weakly, almost imperceptibly, respond. But, during a set of songs focusing on God’s faithfulness in the midst of trials, Bill removed his glasses and buried his face in his hands. Everything about his body language screamed sadness and weariness; it was as if he was grieving the lack of her response to his affection.
Finally, she turned to look at her lover as if she understood his emotions and the pure fatigue of unremitted affection.
I struggled trying to sing the lyrics to the hymn Amazing Grace as I empathized with him.
Throwing aside all my natural inhibitions, I approached the couple as soon as the final song was concluded and the applause had abated. I introduced myself; he responded saying his name was Bill. He introduced me to his lover, Patti. I commended Bill for his unselfish devotion to Patti.
Bill proudly responded that they will have been married 54 years this coming March and then added that Patti has had a serious of strokes over the past years. Then he reached down to speak softly to he as he prepared to push her wheelchair back out of the sanctuary of First Assembly with the same broad smile and obvious pride over Patti that he had displayed upon entering two hours previously.
Now there is a man of his word – a man of integrity. Almost 54 years ago he stood before God and witnesses promising to “love, honor and cherish” Patti through times of “sickness and health till death.”
I ask God for grace, should it be our lot in life, to follow Bill’s example, by loving and cherishing Mary with the same unselfish devotion.
Bill was also a reminder that Jesus loves His bride with unselfish devotion. He loves you and me no matter how broken or disheveled we may become. When I can’t respond, Jesus understands. When I am so weary, Jesus is there to give strength untill death unites me with Him forever.
What I am reading:
Reflections on the Psalms, C. S. Lewis
AI Superpowers China, Silicon Valley and The New World Order, Kai-Fu Lee