Eileen was admitted to outpatient hospice services with terminal cancer when she was seventy-four years old. Eileen and her husband, Lowell, reflected on their life together. Eileen confessed, “I wasn’t an angel but I was a good girl. I didn’t smoke or drink but we loved to go to The Lincoln to dance. I met Lowell at The Plateau Restaurant in Waverly. I lost a girlfriend over him. We were at the Plateau eating and she wanted to date him. There was an empty chair next to her but he pulled the chair over next to me and didn’t even let me eat, he tormented me. I lost a friend over him that night.”
Lowell reminisced, “We got married at a preacher’s house in Minford. She didn’t have any money for a wedding dress so a friend bought her a suit to get married in. We didn’t spend $10,000 on a wedding; but it stuck and we’ve been married almost fifty-five years. We’ve had hard times, after all we’re only human, but we made it. And life is what you make of it.” Eileen confirmed, “He’s always said that and he believes it.”
Lowell elaborated, “It’s the same with a job. I’ve heard people complain about their job but it’s what you make of it. You may not like the job but if you do the best you can you’ll never have to worry about finding work.”
From my standpoint it appears that Eileen and Lowell made the most of their life together. Lowell is a Navy veteran and a retired construction worker. Lowell played the bass in a local band for several years. Eileen explained, “Lowell played that three-quarter time like Ray Price’s band. I was backward but my sister wasn’t and she would call me up to sing with her. We sang a lot of Connie Smith songs. And I wrote and sang a lot of songs for the Lord too; and I played a little guitar, bass and mandolin.”
Eileen also enjoys painting. She explained, “I like painting with oils and I taught myself how to paint. I started out using my fingers because I didn’t have any brushes.” Talk about making the most it with what you have, or don’t have!
Lowell continued, “We built what we thought would be our retirement home. We had three acres and a pond. We loved sitting in our sunroom which is where we spent most of our time. Our dog even loved sitting out there too.” Lowell added, “But I was diagnosed with leukemia and I got too weak to mow the lawn and I was concerned about Eileen not being able to take care of everything there alone after I was gone. So, we talked about it and we cried and we decided to sell our home. But God gave us a sign. There was a tree outside the house and all at once it was filled with blue birds. I’ve never seen so many blue birds and then all of a sudden, they all flew away. We both had an immediate peace and we knew that God would provide a way.”
Lowell and Eileen sold their retirement home and bought and remodeled a small cottage. Six months after moving Eileen was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Lowell stated, “I thought she would be taking care of me and now I’m taking care of her.” But they have been blessed with the care and support of their niece, Tammy, who they consider a godsend.
In spite of her illness, Eileen is still making the most of it. A few weeks ago, Eileen shared, “I’m doing better and I started walking to the bathroom yesterday. I know it may not last long but I’m going to do it while I can. I know I’m being selfish but I’m ready to go, but I don’t want to leave Lowell by himself. My goal for the time I have left is to impact as many people for God that I can.”
Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do… God will not give us good habits, He will not give us character, He will not make us walk right. We have to do all that ourselves; we have to work out the salvation that God has worked in (Philippians 2:12)… we have to take the initiative where we are, not where we are not… (My Utmost for His Highest, May 10th).
I believe that God desires and expects us to make the most of where we are, right here, right now, therefore, “Beware of harking back to what you once were when God wants you to be something you have never been,” (My Utmost for His Highest, June 8th).
Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-356-2525 or at [email protected]. You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.