It was one of the saddest days of my life. My wife of some fifty-seven years passed away about midnight. The date was May 20, 2013. She had fallen victim to an aggressive cancer that ended her present life. But in the meantime, I have been getting little gifts from her. Yes, gifts from someone dear who is resting in a cemetery next to our Manfred Country Church here in North Dakota. And you would be quick to ask, "How can you still be getting gifts from your wife since she is sleeping in the grave?" Simple! She had given away a number of books and quite a few articles that I did not know anything about before her passing. And since her death, friends of ours and former church members are reminding me of some of the things they had received from my wife. "I have been wanting to tell you about this book that Wanda gave me or I finally ran across the article that Wanda gave me and I wanted to share it with you." When that happens, "I call these things 'GIFTS FROM WANDA' even though she did not intend them for me. It gives me courage to live my life in such a way that I can see Wanda again and thank her for these continuing gifts. The Apostle Paul in Titus 2: 13 suggests that seeing our departed loved ones again is part of what is called THE BLESSED HOPE.
Just this week, one of our dear church members of the Goodrich Church sent me a letter with a story that Wanda had shared with her while she was still with us. This lady lives now in Kingsville, Missouri and, in the meantime, she too has lost her husband. I just think she realized how much that story would mean to me and she wanted to share it. The story is titled simply, SECRETS OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE.
There was once a man and woman who had been married for over sixty years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other, except the little old woman had a shoe box in her closet. She had cautioned her husband to never open it or to even ask about it. For all of those years, the husband had never thought about the box but one day the little old lady got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.
In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time to open the box and that he should know what was in it. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000 dollars. The little old man asked his wife about the contents of the box. She replied, "When we were to be married, my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage. She said WE SHOULD NEVER ARGUE. My grandmother told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily.
The little old man was so moved, he had to fight back the tears. THERE WERE ONLY TWO DOILIES IN THE BOX. That meant she had been angry with him only two times in all those years of living and loving. He brushed tears from his eyes. And then he asked his wife, "Where did the money come from?" Oh, she said that is the money I made from selling all those doilies."
The story finishes with a wife's prayer. It goes like this. Dear Lord, I pray for wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; and patience to deal with his moods. BECAUSE IF I DON'T PRAY FOR STRENGTH, I WILL LIKELY BEAT HIM TO DEATH. Of course, we believe that marriage is a two-way street. There can be faults on both sides and we have to learn to get along. And maybe, just maybe, we men might need to learn to crochet.
Wayne Easley/written on Oct. 13, 2022 in Harvey, North Dakota