the power of love.

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this week, E's grandmother, Grace, passed away. 

i wasn't even sure where to begin with this story, but it's been on my heart all week and i really felt like i needed to let it out. 

Grace was 82 and was married to her husband, Ben, for more than 60 years. when Ben passed away in 2010, things changed. E says the two of them were such an amazing example of love and kindness. both volunteered at various nonprofits and church organizations for decades, and even served as houseparents for the milton hershey school. they were so involved in community and so willing and ready to love everyone around them. 

their marriage reflected this; 

Ben and Grace not only loved their community, they loved each other. fully and without reserve, for over 60 years. i can't even grapple with how long that is. it's incredible and shows just how strong love is when you put God first and reflect His grace. 

on my first date with E, he told me his grandpa Ben was his biggest role model, and that he hoped he could become half the man he was by being respectful, kind, patient and hardworking. 

i think this is why E is such an endearing and loving man. i'm so thankful that he was able to have such a wonderful example in his life. God was truly preparing him to be a man of grace and goodness. 

after the funeral on thursday, E told me this: love is beautiful and is the most important thing in the world. and i couldn't agree more. it's the most powerful ability we have.

it's hard in this life to not get wrapped up in jobs, material things; having it all, keeping up with this fast-paced society, becoming a workaholic, being important or successful. sometimes we get greedy and join the rat race: but we lose so much of what this life has to offer when we lose sight of its purpose. 

we are here to love. love as God has, first and foremost. and when we leave, the things that will stick out in our memory as we reflect on our lives--it won't be the cool cars or the awesome bonus or the big house that we remember; it will be the relationships with the people we love. the lives we touched, the kindness we shared, the times we laughed and cried and bonded our hearts with others. these are the things that matter. the things that actually touch our soul. 

although we mourn the loss of an amazing woman of God, i feel so blessed that E and i were given her and Ben's example to guide us. not just in our own love, but in our life. i know over the years, we will continue to have the message of their lives ringing in our ears and hearts as we navigate this incredible adventure of life.

ps. E said for the past several years, a cardinal knocks against the window in Grace's bedroom at 6 a.m. every morning. while E was home this week, the cardinal continued to knock for him as well. i like to think it was Ben, watching out for Grace each day :) but you can think what you like....