Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Commitment for Life

65 years ago today, Eugene Oppeneer and Verna Augustine said "I do!"
Little did they know where those words of commitment would lead them.

Shortly after they were married, Eugene joined the US Army and spent the next four years in the South Pacific, sending Verna letters from Australia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Japan.
Verna waited for him back in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, working at the Kohler Company.

When WWII ended, and Eugene came back home, they moved out to his parents' farm near Hingham, where they began to raise corn and oats and hay and ... children. I am the oldest of their family of five.

Over the years, they shared joys, experienced pain and hardships, some of their dreams crashed, but they stayed the course, for better or for worse.

Crippling arthritis and debilitating health problems (Dad) and Alzheimer's and leg ulcers (Mom) have been a constant companion in their home on the farm for the past ??? years...but they have stayed the course. Dad is Mom's caregiver now, and that care is evident in everything he does.
In my early years, I saw my mother submitting herself to my father--often in difficult circumstances. In these last years, I have seen him submitting himself to her and to her needs--in very sad and difficult circumstances. Much of what God has used to shape me has come from what I have seen and am seeing in them. And I thank Him for it.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!



8 comments:

Tony said...

Hi Kat,

What a great post! I enjoyed reading this and getting a glimpse of your life. I think it is awesome to have had parents that stayed together over the years, no matter the trials--such a rarity these days.

My folks celebrated their 38th this year! Awesome stuff, I'm proud of them!

elder's wife said...

Tony-
So your parents have been married 38 years? Boy, do I feel my age! :)Elwood & I will celebrate anniversary #41, Lord willing, on July 15th.
God sure is good.
Kat

Aussie John said...

Kat,

It is always a blessing to read a report such as this.

As Tony said, ..."such a rarity these days".

I'm reminded of a very sad experience which spoke volumes: A little girl of six years of age asked me a question,"Have you got a girl friend?"

My answer was a simple, "Yes."

"How long have you been together?"

My wife and I have been married 46 years, but at the time my answer was, "36 years."

There was a moment of quiet, and then there was an explosive remark, "36 years!!! My mummy has just moved in with my third daddy."

Congratulations for July 15!

Amen! God sure is good!

Eric said...

Wow! What a wonderful testimony.

I just love to hear stories about folks who have been married for many years.

My grandmother had Alzheimer's and my mother may be headed that direction, so I can sympathize. Praise the Lord that your father is still able to care for your mother.

elder's wife said...

Eric-
As I remember, Nancy Reagan called Alzheimer's "the long good-bye"...and it is all of that and more. If you read my Father's Day post, you will see why I appreciate my dad's commitment in the face of that good-bye. He's the dad I wish I'd known as I grew up.
I've been following your blog and Alice's, and have appreciated your testimony in the face of adversity, too. Stand firm!
Kat

Stephen Orr said...

Thank you so much for posting this tender, provocative essay. Such a moving tribute to marital union, sacrificial love, selfless service to each other, and God's grace. I'm grateful to have found this blog via Dave Black.

elder's wife said...

Stephen-
Thank you for your encouraging words. As I read your blog posts, I see that you have a strong interest in elder care and Alzheimer's. What has led you into that?
Kat

Stephen Orr said...

Kat, I've worked with the elderly and with Alzheimer's victims for much of my adult life, and am burdened by what I see as a lack of biblical understanding about the aged in our era, even among God's people. I've even written a (soon-to-be-published) book on the subject.