Holding Hands: love that lasts a lifetime

They walk very slowly up the aisle of the church, wrinkled hands clasped, and take their places together every week, front and center. Always together, softly swaying to the music, lifting hands in prayer, never letting go with the other set of hands. They are one. When the music turns lively, their hands swing together to the beat and the man’s feet start a little jig.

I’m mesmerized and I study every detail of this couple from where I stand. They are very old. I wonder how many years they have been together. Sixty? Seventy? Or perhaps they’re newlyweds? Yet I can’t possibly imagine one without the other. Their love still seems so vibrant, fresh.

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The woman is beautiful in her pristine white fur coat and white wool skirt. Her outfit looks like something from the era of Coco Chanel, maybe it is, but if so, it has been well cared for. I notice the attention put into every detail of her appearance, from her shiny neat hair, to her dainty healed white boots. . I promise to myself to always look my best for my husband, even when I’m ancient and wrinkled, not out of vanity, not because he would say anything, but because I love him.

Her husband stands handsome in his tailored gray suit, white hair always topped by a black sun visor- rather out of place, which fires my imagination further, as to the reason for it.

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They’re either hard of hearing, or they’re just so absorbed in the service that they never notice when the rest of the congregation sits. They remain standing until the pastor personally invites them to be seated, the two of them so small in stature that it would hardly be noticeable were it not for the fact that they are front and center of the church. They’re a little quirky, a sense of humor, and a deep love for God and for each other is what I see as I watch them. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting this couple but I feel like I know them. The love I have for my own quirky, humorous, loving grandparents, who died within months of each other, is what gives this couple in the front of the church a special place in my heart.

Their example inspires me more than the longest, most eloquent sermon on love ever could. I wish my kids could have met my grandparents and learned from their example, but their example lives on through the generations. I’m blessed to have parents who are still together, since the beginning. It’s so rare these days, and I’m grateful my kids can look to them as an example of what love is. I have hope and determination.  I have an example, and I pray that my husband and I will someday be that couple in the front of the church, holding hands after many decades together, our love so strong and evident to others that it brings tears to the eyes of those watching- the way those tears came to my eyes today. 

holding hands:  an essay on love that lasts a lifetime